Home Sport Ronnie O'Sullivan requests Sheffield is stripped of World Championship snooker event

Ronnie O'Sullivan requests Sheffield is stripped of World Championship snooker event

Ronnie O’Sullivan has never been one to embrace conventional ways when it comes to snooker – and now the game’s biggest star has risked upsetting World Championship organisers by calling for the tournament to be moved from Sheffield. The Crucible Theatre has hosted the event every year since 1977, with its current deal set to run until the 50th anniversary of that date in three years.

But the ‘Rocket’, who this month will begin his quest for an unprecedented eighth world crown, has labelled the venue a “circus.” And he’s even called for snooker’s most iconic tournament to be taken out of the UK and staged in China or Saudi Arabia.

“I think definitely it’s a wise decision to take it away from Sheffield,” he told The Sun. “Still have a tournament there. Why not? But just not the World Championship over 17 days. It’s a massive circus and you need a massive space to accommodate it.

“I think Saudi Arabia would be great. They’ve got the resources and would do it great. If you’re going to take it to China, you’d have to take it to Shanghai. Or another major city like Shenzhen or Guangzhou. It’d be done properly. Courtesy cars will be laid on. Food will be there. Hotels will be great. Everything would be paid for. Prize money would be astronomical.”

The rant didn’t end there with the 48-year-old saying that the cups of tea and lasagne were the only positives about the Crucible. He was also scathing about parking facilities and the traffic problems encountered when travelling to the venue.

“You don’t want all that. You don’t get all that in Shanghai,” he continued.  “You get a courtesy car to pick you up. Roads are shut off. Ten security guards walk you in. There are practice tables. Beautiful food.

“You end up giving your time to the fans because I haven’t had the stress and hassle. When you are playing in a competition, you just want peace of mind, you don’t want to be driven mad. You don’t want to be hassled.”

While he has long been publicly critical of Sheffield, O’Sullivan’s own experiences of playing abroad this season have seemingly further influenced his thinking. In March, the world no.1 became the first player to lift a tournament in Saudi Arabia by winning the World Masters in Riyadh, and later took part in the World Open in Yushan, China.

He lauded both venues afterwards, a notion unlikely to be repeated when he starts his challenge at the Crucible. The tournament gets underway on April 20, with the final scheduled for Bank Holiday Monday, May 6.


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