Barry Hearn wants legacy to be helping people 'change their lives'

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Barry Hearn outside the Crucible Theatre
Barry Hearn took over as World Snooker chairman in 2010
Betfred World Snooker Championship
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 17 April-3 May
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Matchroom Sport founder Barry Hearn says he hopes his legacy as a sports promoter has been creating opportunities for people to "change their lives and chase a dream".

Hearn, 72, has stood down as chairman of the company he set up in 1982.

He also leaving his role as chairman of World Snooker and the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC).

"Sport is about ability and ability knows no barriers," said Hearn, who was raised on a Dagenham council estate.

"It's not who you are, where you come from, what your dad did, or how much money is in the family.

"It's the opportunity we can create for people to change their lives and chase a dream."

Hearn said returning to snooker in 2010 and making World Snooker a subsidiary of Matchroom Sport was one of the "crowning moments" in his 50-year career.

"I remain passionate about a sport which changed my life and made my life 40 years ago when Steve Davis won his first world title," said Hearn. "I have never forgotten what I owe snooker."

In those 11 years, the sport has gone from six ranking events plus the Masters and £3.5m in prize money to more than 30 tournaments and a prize fund of £15m.

"We have achieved some unbelievable results and there is a lot more to achieve," he added.

"It is a time to step aside. It is not a sad day; it's a happy day. I look forward to going back to being a fan.

"It was an easy decision to make. I am still full of energy but there is a team at World Snooker and Matchroom who can do a better job in some areas. I need to be big enough to admit that and move on."

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