Snooker chief Barry Hearn has admitted six-time world champion Steve Davis could be handed a reprieve, after he recently lost his tour card for dropping out of the top 64.

Davis, 56, dropped out of the sport's elite after losing in this year's World Championship qualifier against Craig Steadman and looked set to endure a stay in the wilderness.

But Hearn - Davis's former manager and best friend - has balked at the prospect of such a decorated figure of the game having to go through the sport's qualifying school in May just to regain a place on the tour.

Steve  "It's a tough call, it represents a 360-degree turn in my normal decision making process. But I've got to be flexible when common sense comes into play and it's causing me sleepless nights.

"It's a very difficult call and something I'm going to be thinking about over the next few days to see if I've opened a can of worms or whether it would be wrong of me not to repay those players' loyalty to the game by making an exception."

Davis had initially confirmed his intention to go through the qualifying school, before the World Snooker chairman labelled it ridiculous.

And although he confirmed he wouldn't be able to vote himself, due to being biased towards allowing "The Nugget" back, Hearn has suggested members of the governing body should make the decision.

The premise of allowing Davis back on the tour is also being considered for fellow legend Jimmy White, who may also be offered a one-off wildcard tour re-entry.

But whilst extenuating circumstances no doubt exist in allowing legends of the sport back in, Hearn has a dilemma over the message it sends to the rest of the field.

The snooker tour system is based upon a meritocracy, not reputation, and Hearn would have to ensure that bringing back Davis - and White - didn't set a potentially problematic precedent.

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