Sheffield hopeful of retaining World Championship as China signals intent

The Crucible under threat once again

As I am sure most people will be aware by now, it seems that the home of snooker, The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield is once again under threat as the Chinese have expressed an interest in staging the World Championship in the near future…

According to some quotes in the Mail though, it would appear that Sheffield City Council are not overly troubled by Sir Rodney Walker’s recent comments:

We are not particularly concerned by Rodney’s comments. We do not see them as a dig at Sheffield.

‘At this stage of the process we were expecting World Snooker to be considering their options for the future.

‘We have been aware of the potential attraction of China as a place to hold major snooker events before now.

‘China will, undoubtedly, be a major player in the sport in the future.

‘However, Sheffield has worked hard over the last few years to become a key partner for World Snooker, for example in the development of the World Snooker Academy, as well as hosting the professional qualifying events for the Masters, UK and World Championships.’

‘The thing about snooker is it is a very UK-centric sport. The majority of the world’s top 16 are from the UK.

‘There is a big UK centre of growth but it is a commercial world and World Snooker have to balance the benefits of staging the event in the UK with the undoubted attractive commercial benefits of having it somewhere else.

‘I would like to think in the next year we will be bringing the whole dialogue to a conclusion.’

Personally I hope that he is right and that The Crucible will remain as the home of snooker for years to come as there is just nowhere else like it to watch snooker. The history, the atmosphere, everything about the place is just second to none and the investment that Sheffield has made in snooker over the years should not go unnoticed.

If however the venue were to change, then I really hope that the event with remain in the UK. Not only from a selfish point of view as I like to attend the event, but as is said above, snooker is a very UK-centric sport. I would imagine that the BBC would push for this as the World final is the highlight of that Bank Holiday in England. Having no live snooker through the evening as well as the final finishing at tea time would be unthinkable from their point of view and given the snooker fan base and amount of players from the UK at the moment, it surely makes more sense to keep it here.

But then again perhaps I would say that! If more money could be made from taking it overseas and this would benefit snooker as a whole, then there is certainly a strong argument there…I just hope that those at Sheffield can come up with a strong offer themselves…