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Other SportsHearn demands Sheffield provides bigger venue for World Snooker Championship

Hearn demands Sheffield provides bigger venue for World Snooker Championship

Barry Hearn has all but confirmed the World Snooker Championship will move from the Crucible Theatre in 2027 – and warned it could leave Sheffield altogether unless the local council provides a bigger venue.

The Crucible has staged snooker’s biggest event since 1977 and is regarded as one of the most iconic venues in UK sport. Its contract to stage the World Championship expires in three years’ time.

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And with Hearn admitting “it’s all about the money”, the former World Snooker chairman and president of Matchroom is now eyeing a venue that can offer greater financial possibilities.

Ideally, that would be in Sheffield but Hearn says that requires the buy-in of Sheffield City Council.

He told the BBC: “I am doing absolutely everything I can to stay in Sheffield and it takes two to tango. I’ll stay here while we’re wanted, and I think we’re wanted.

“But they’ve got to be realistic. We’ve said for the last few years we need a new venue that seats 2,500 to 3,000 people.

“I’m looking for Sheffield to come to the party and if they do, we’re staying. If they don’t, they’re really saying that we don’t want to, so it’s not really my call.”

Conditions at The Crucible have come in for criticism during the ongoing World Championship with Iranian Hossein Vafaei claiming it was “smelly” following his first-round exit.

Seven-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan, and the sport’s most influential figure, has previously said he would support taking it elsewhere and suggested Saudi Arabia or China, where the prize money would be “astronomical”.

Hearn would be equally happy to break with tradition, adding: “The Crucible has got a fantastic history and it’s been a massive part of my life, but we’ve got to live in the real world.

“There’s a price for everything, whether we like it or not.

“I’d love to tell you we live in a fairy story, but it’s not that simple. In any professional sport played by professional sportsmen, the first demand is prize money and they want to see it as big as possible, and we have a duty to those players.

“I believe next year we go through the £20million prize money, but you must never get complacent in your life and sit down and enjoy the luxury of saying ‘job done’. There’s never enough. It’s all about the money – get used to it.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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