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Mark Williams torn on future of World Snooker Championship


2024 Cazoo World Snooker Championship - Day 4

Mark Williams is keen for the World Snooker Championship to remain in Sheffield (Picture: Getty Images)

Three-time world champion Mark Williams has changed his mind on the future of the Crucible, hoping snooker’s biggest tournament remains in Sheffield but expects it to leave in the near future.

The South Yorkshire theatre has hosted the World Snooker Championship since 1977, but the current contract for the tournament runs out in 2027 and the future beyond that is unclear.

The Crucible’s capacity is under 1,000 and there have been calls for the event to move to a bigger venue to generate more prize money through ticket sales and possible investment from new hosts.

Saudi Arabia and China have been touted as potential new hosts for the World Championship, with Williams believing it is inevitable that the tournament will move to one of them.

The Welshman memorably described the Crucible as a ‘s***hole’ on Twitter back in 2012, but has come round to the charms of the place and will be sad to see the World Championship move, which he believes it will.

‘A few years ago I was the one for saying that it probably should move, but I’ve changed my mind and I think it should stay at the Crucible,’ Williams told William Hill.‌

‘You can go to Saudi Arabia and have one or two million [pounds] to the winner in a 3,000-seater stadium, but you’re only going to get a couple of hundred people in to watch it in a 3,000-seat stadium. You can’t generate the atmosphere that the Crucible does with 900 [people], you just can’t do it.

Williams has changed his mind on the Crucible over the years (Picture: Getty Images)

‘But at the end of the day the way sport is going, money talks. I just think it’s inevitable as soon as the contract runs out it’s gone. Whether it’s Saudi or China I don’t know. Money seems to be the main ruler of sport these days.’

Williams may be in favour of staying in Sheffield, where this year’s world champion Kyren Wilson won £500,000 for his efforts, but admits that the majority of players would likely prefer a move if it meant a huge increase in prize money.

‘Saudi Arabia have just put a tournament on recently and it seems like they’ve almost got every sport from boxing to football,’ he said.

‘I think if the players had a vote, then most of them would vote for it to go to Saudi Arabia or China and have one or two million for the winner, then that money filters down. Instead of getting £20,000 to turn up in Sheffield, you could be on £70,000 to turn up in Saudi Arabia.’

While debate over the Crucible’s future rages on, no decision has been made, with the World Championship staying in Sheffield still very much a possibility.

Discussions are ongoing between World Snooker Tour and Sheffield City Council on how the city can improve the facilities on offer for the tournament, not just in terms of …read more

Source:: Metro

      

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