World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn has described Ronnie O'Sullivan's comments as "inaccurate" and "unfounded" after the five-time World Champion claimed he is being bullied and intimidated by the snooker authorities.
O'Sullivan launched an astonishing tirade
against snooker's governing body at The Crucible on Sunday in response to being sanctioned multiple times for his conduct in recent months.
The Rocket insists he is no longer prepared to be "bullied or intimidated" by the powers that be and that he would have considered walking away from the game had it not been for the involvement of his legal team.
However, in a statement published on Monday morning, Hearn claims neither he nor World Snooker has had any contact from O'Sullivan's lawyers and believes O'Sullivan's accusations threaten to bring the sport into disrepute.
The statement reads as follows...
'All players have contracts with World Snooker Limited by way of a players’ contract which was written in conjunction with WPBSA and agreed with the players’ governing body.
'This sets out the obligations of the players and applies to all participants on the World Snooker Tour. There are no exceptions. Ronnie O’Sullivan has signed this contract and is therefore eligible to play in any World Snooker events as he wishes.
'World Snooker owns the worldwide commercial rights for professional snooker. WPBSA is the governing body and represents the professional players on the World Snooker Tour.
'The WPBSA is exclusively responsible for all disciplinary matters pertaining to snooker, its players and their responsibilities outlined in the players’ contract.
'Neither World Snooker nor myself have any involvement whatsoever in disciplinary matters.
'Neither World Snooker nor myself have received any communication from Ronnie O’Sullivan’s lawyers in regard to his responsibilities or concerns in relation to his signed players’ contract.
'I personally take any accusation of ‘bullying and intimidation’ by me or World Snooker very seriously. Unfounded accusations such as these are damaging to World Snooker’s global reputation, as well as my own, and we will take whatever action is required to protect this reputation from such inaccurate comments.
'I hope all parties can move on from this position and concentrate on the brilliant entertainment provided by players at the Betfred World Championship.'