His decision comes during the 2021 World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
World Snooker Tour and Matchroom Sport chairman Barry Hearn has announced his retirement, which will come into effect after the conclusion of this year’s World Snooker Championship.
The 72 year-old will be replaced by his son Eddie Hearn at the helm of Matchroom Sport in addition to the Professional Darts Corporation, while Steve Dawson takes over from Hearn’s role at the WST.
Hearn has been involved in sports management and promotion for more than four decades and initially founded Matchroom in 1982, soon after managing friend Steve Davis to his maiden world title.
The firm has enjoyed huge success across various sports including darts, boxing, and golf, but snooker was always Hearn’s number one passion.
In 2010, the Englishman took control of the sport when it was on its knees, and since then he has orchestrated a huge increase in global reach and prize money.
Snooker owes Hearn an enormous debt of gratitude after a lifetime’s worth of service to the sport that can’t be properly measured.
A former chairman of Leyton Orient FC, Hearn had a heart attack last year and also contracted COVID-19, but he made full recoveries.
Still, it seems that he has decided to call time on his career while he’s ahead, albeit he will remain with Matchroom Sport as President in an advisory role.
World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn OBE said: “It has been a huge honour to have worked with some of the greatest sports people on the planet across the last 40 years and enjoyed so many wonderful experiences across our spectrum of events in that time, from snooker’s glory days of the 1980s to record-breaking boxing shows and the incredible growth of professional darts, as we have created opportunities for thousands of sportsmen and women during that time.”
“Great challenges have been met, but none more so than the Covid pandemic. I have been determined to stay in charge until this disaster passed and now there is light at the end of the tunnel and I believe it is the right time to pass control of Matchroom to my son Eddie and the brilliant teams we have assembled across all our activities.
“I shall continue to be available to all Matchroom companies as non-executive President, an advisory role concentrating on group strategy and global expansion, but Eddie will be elevated to Group Chairman with overall responsibility for the entire group.
“I could not be prouder of the Matchroom Group of Companies and the outstanding teams that operate in a highly competitive marketplace. Matchroom has grown from two employees operating in an office under a snooker hall in Romford in 1982, to the global powerhouse it is today due to the efforts and performances of all our staff, contractors, broadcasters, and partners.
“I know the company is in good hands with Eddie at the helm and with my daughter Katie heading up Matchroom Media, Matt Porter at the PDC, Frank Smith at Matchroom Boxing, Emily Frazer at Matchroom Multi Sport, Steve Dawson my Chief Executive for over 30 years and Dan Godding at the PGA EuroPro Tour, along with all their teams.
“Now is the time to give all Matchroom employees the opportunity to take this great British company to the next level and beyond”.
Featured photo credit: WST