Ronnie O'Sullivan and Neil Robertson on why World Championship could leave Crucible

April 18, 2022
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Phil Haigh ✍️  

2019 Coral Players Championship - Day 7 (Final)
Neil Robertson and Ronnie O’Sullivan could see the World Snooker Championship moving (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan has hailed the atmosphere at the Crucible, but says the World Snooker Championship could benefit the sport by moving to China if the country made an offer that could not be refused.

The Rocket won his first round match at the Crucible on Saturday, beating Dave Gilbert 10-5, and enjoyed his return to the famous Sheffield venue.

‘Brilliant, it’s such a good venue and such a good atmosphere,’ O’Sullivan told Eurosport of his first round win.

‘We’re not used to playing in venues like this. Years ago there used to be four or five venues that created this kind of atmosphere.

‘There isn’t a venue like this anymore, we just play in an atmosphere like this once a year. It’s harder, you get a bit excited and you feel like you want to stay in the tournament a little longer because it’s such a special tournament.’

However, there has been some discussion on whether the World Championship could move from the Crucible at some point in the future and O’Sullivan could see it happening, but only under very specific circumstances.

‘I think the only time you’d move the Crucible is if China said they’d put up a £3m first prize and start competing with the likes of golf and tennis. Which they can do, they’ve got the potential to do it,’ said the Rocket.

‘I think it would be a good one to put it out there to China and go: “Would you be prepared to do four majors. £3m a winner, turn it into a golf or tennis and raise the bar?”

‘It can’t be done in this country or Europe, but it can be done in China.

‘I just think, if you are going to make that move, it has to be an offer like that on the table that you just cannot refuse. It would elevate the game onto another stratosphere. It can only be done in China.’

It would be a sad day for many snooker fans if the World Championship left the Crucible (Picture: Getty Images )

Neil Robertson has spoken out against the Crucible in the past, frustrated about the tight nature of the venue and preferring the atmosphere at the larger Alexandra Palace, the home of the Masters.

The Australian feels the sport’s biggest tournament should be at a bigger venue than the Crucible, which has a capacity of around 1,000, although he would like it to stay in Sheffield – presumably at the Sheffield Arena.

‘If you look at the Masters this year, that was the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in, and I think nearly all the players said that, and I believe the atmosphere there is everything that the World Championship isn’t,’ Robertson told Eurosport.

‘I think we have to be very careful sticking to tradition. There are a lot of sports that have suffered because of that, being too stubborn to move on. I think the Crucible has had a few tables since I’ve been there.

‘The one-table setup is really special but the two-table setup definitely has a lot of room for improvement.

‘I think it could be possible [to move the tournament] one day, still in Sheffield of course, because that’s the home of snooker. You could get a venue of 4,000-5,000 [fans]. That would be amazing.’

Watch live coverage of the Snooker World Championship across discovery+, Eurosport and Eurosport app.

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