Phil Haigh ✍️
World Snooker Tour president Barry Hearn says talks have begun over the possibility of building a new Crucible in Sheffield, creating a bigger and modern venue for the World Snooker Championship.
There have been calls from some players for changes to the sport’s biggest tournament, with Neil Robertson suggesting playing it over two venues to avoid the cramped nature of the two-table set-up.
Judd Trump and Stephen Maguire have suggested the tournament moves to a bigger venue, allowing for larger crowds and, arguably, a better atmosphere. While Shaun Murphy believes the current venue lacks the hospitality services required for an elite tournament.
It must be said that many snooker fans would hate to see the World Snooker Championship leave the Crucible and there are economic factors – mainly WST not paying to hire the Crucible – that make it an ideal venue, despite its relatively meagre capacity of just under 1,000.
Anthony McGill and John Higgins are two players that have spoken out for the Crucible and want the World Championship to stay where it is.
Hearn has listened to all the arguments and feels that a new venue in Sheffield could be the best option and talks are underway with the city’s council over how that could work.
‘My heart tells me that Sheffield and snooker deserve each other – it is a wonderful marriage,’ Hearn told BBC Sport.
‘We have an agreement with the council for the next four years or so to stay here, and that of course will be honoured.
‘I think we are synonymous with Sheffield and the history we have created with the Crucible is without doubt a very important part of the brand of snooker.
‘Early talks at the moment with Sheffield council are why don’t we look at perhaps building a new Crucible in Sheffield so we do not have to think about going anywhere else?
‘If I could do anything on the existing site, of course I would. But there simply isn’t space.’
It would be a serious undertaking, but Hearn, as ever, is confident. He would like to see some government funding, though, for the prestigious, iconic and global event.
‘I would rather stay here and my heart tells me this is where Sheffield and snooker deserve to be,’ he continued.
‘It just needs a little bit of understanding and investment of people’s time, people’s heart and maybe a few quid from central government.’
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