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Ronnie O'Sullivan will be pleased as WST hints World Championship could leave Crucible

WST chairman Steve Dawson has suggested that the World Snooker Championship could leave the Crucible one day in a move that would surely delight Ronnie O’Sullivan. The iconic Sheffield theatre has been the home of snooker’s biggest tournament since 1977 and will continue to host the event until 2027 when its current contract runs out.

Some players have criticised the Crucible’s lack of modern facilities despite it having a special place in the hearts of snooker fans worldwide. Dawson is eager to keep the World Snooker Championship at the venue but has acknowledged that it will need major improvements to justify a contract extension beyond 2027.

Speaking to the Daily Star, he said: “I love the Crucible. I don’t want to move from the Crucible if we can afford it. It’s very much in the City of Sheffield’s court. We are in conversations with them and are trying to understand their plans with them.

“The venue is getting a bit old and tired behind the scenes and doesn’t necessarily have all the facilities that we now need and perhaps expect for a blue-ribboned event. The ball is very much in their court. There’s not much more I can say until they come forward with more.”

There are currently no known plans to increase the size of the Crucible, which was built in 1971 and underwent a major refurbishment in the late 2000s. It only has room for 980 spectators, preventing the WST from maximising ticket revenues given that snooker viewing figures are still in the millions every single year.

“One thing for sure is that if we had a bigger venue, we could sell three times as many tickets as we do now,” added Dawson. “That is a fact.”

O’Sullivan is among those to have called for the World Snooker Championship to move away from the Crucible to a more suitable venue. Earlier this week, he suggested that a location in Saudi Arabia or China with improved facilities would be a better fit to stage the event.

“I don’t like the Crucible, I don’t think you can get in and out of it,” O’Sullivan told The Sun. “I think definitely it’s a wise decision to take it away from Sheffield. 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. I know at the Crucible you get nice tea there, you might get lasagne if the guys are cooking, but that’s about it.”


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