Mark Williams
Ranking, Snooker Headlines, World Championship

Mark Williams thinks World Snooker Championship move is “inevitable”

Mark Williams thinks it’s “inevitable” that the World Snooker Championship will move away from the Crucible Theatre.

The Welshman, who has won the sport’s blue-riband tournament at the famous venue three times during a glittering career, believes it will leave Sheffield.

Discussion has ramped up in recent months surrounding the possibility of a change in venue for the World Championship, which was won this year by Kyren Wilson.

The Crucible Theatre has hosted the prestigious event since 1977, but its current contract to remain there expires in just three years time.

The intimate setting has produced many of snooker’s greatest moments in history, but there are many who believe that its capacity of less than 1,000 seats is too small in the current sporting climate.

World Snooker supremo Barry Hearn has been putting pressure on Sheffield City Council to come up with a solution.

However, with Saudi Arabia becoming an increasing presence in the game this year, the possibility of it leaving Sheffield has become very real.

“A few years ago I was one of the people saying that snooker probably needed to move,” Mark Williams said on Club 501 with Wayne Mardle, which is backed by William Hill.

“But I’ve changed my mind now, and I think it should stay at the Crucible.”

“You can go to Saudi Arabia and have £1 million to the winner or £2 million to the winner in a 3,000-seater stadium.

“It’s great, but you’re only going to get a couple of hundred watching it in a 3,000-seater stadium.

“You can’t generate the same atmosphere that the Crucible has with 900, you just can’t do it.

“At the end of the day, with the way sport is going now, money talks. I just think it’s inevitable, as soon as that 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.

“I thought China would’ve been front runners if the World Championship ever moved from Sheffield.

Mark Williams
Williams lost 10-9 to Si Jiahui in the first round of the 2024 World Snooker Championship. Photo credit: WST

“Obviously Saudi has just put a tournament on recently, and it seems like they have almost got every sport from boxing to football.

“If the players had a vote, I think most of them would vote for it to go to Saudi or China.

“If you have a million or two-million for the winner, then that money would filter down.

“Instead of having £20,000 to turn up at the Crucible, you could be on £70,000 or £80,000 to turn up in Saudi.”

Mark Williams, meanwhile, will be in action on the World Snooker Tour next week when the Shanghai Masters takes place in China.

The reigning Tour Championship winner will face one of the wildcard players in the lucrative 24-player invitational competition.

Featured photo credit: WST

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