WPBSA chairman Sir Rodney Walker today gave the clearest possible indication that the World Championship will remain at the Crucible.

There had been speculation - started by him - that it would be going to China when the Sheffield contract runs out in 2010.

I suggested this may be a smart tactic on his part to drive up the Sheffield bid and in a BBC interview today he confirmed that the Crucible remains a heavy favourite.

"There’s no firm offer from China but there is interest," Walker said.

"News of that has brought interest from the Middle East but I’ve already begun negotiations with Sheffield city council which have started very well.

"There’s a lot of excitement about it going out the UK but people have to understand we have a contract with the BBC and if the World Championship left the UK it would put at risk our BBC contract, which would have serious financial consequences.

"The likelihood is that the event will stay in the UK and in Sheffield.

"Sheffield will put a provisional offer in front of me before the end of November. The plan would be to get a new deal in place so that we can announce it ahead of the 2009 World Championship, which would take us to 2015. But it depends whether any of these other proposals turn into serious offers."

Steve Davis, six times the Crucible champion, made a good point in response to this.

He said: "Most players would want it to stay in this country and at the Crucible. The best idea for China or other countries would be to create their own super event which, over time, would be compared to the World Championship. Why not do that instead of trying to steal the World Championship?"

So it looks like the Crucible is set to keep the game's greatest event for at least another seven years.

Not everyone will believe this is a good thing but I think most probably would.


Anonymous said...

They should get a deal sorted at the crucible quickly. If a long term venue is confirmed it may encourage a sponsor to back the tournament- is any western sponsor going to be interested if their is a chance the championship could move elsewhere in a couple of years?
John H

Matt@PSB said...

Fingers crossed, just so hard to imagine it anywhere else. I'm planning to head over to the Crucible next week, will be interesting to see how the development is going.

stuartfanning said...

In the BBC piece you were quoting from Dave both Higgins and Day seemed to think that the money was more important than the sentimentality.

Anonymous said...

I was a bit shocked to hear Higgins say he would go to China if the first prize was doubled, because he needed to put his family first. If he had applied himself more, he would certainly have won more money in his career so far, and given his career earnings, I doubt the Higgins children are out sweeping chimneys. What amazed me is that nobody pointed out that the television times would be ruined for the remaining European audience - if there were morning sessions as there are for most of the Championship at The Crucible, they would be around 3am/4am in Europe. In the case of the Beijing Olympics, broadcasters spent a lot of money to have overnight coverage, but the snooker would end up nowhere. Great way to diminish the TV audience, discourage sponsors and declare the sport dead.

jimo96 said...

I don't see how 3am sessions will "discourage sponsors" or "declare the sport dead". Sponsors in this country are ALREADY discouraged, which is why it'd be foolish to turn down the right offer from a Chinese sponsor. Do the Chinese audiences not deserve to see top class snooker? What about the Asian TV audience? That won't "diminish", will it? In fact it'll dwarf the figures produced in Britain and Europe.

It staggers me how snooker "fans" want to keep the game in the dark ages, by encouraging a UK dominated circuit. I hope the whole WSA and its circuit are handed over to the Chinese, can anyone say they'll do a worse job than the current board?

If I was a main tour pro I'd be licking my lips at the prospect of playing for a £500k+ first prize, and "tradition" will be the furthest word from my mind.

Anonymous said...

Jimo96 said "Do the Chinese audience not deserve to see first class snooker?"
No. If they make telephone calls and take photographs during a snooker match, then they do not deserve to see first class snooker!

Anonymous said...

It struck me as bizarre that the big headline story a couple of weeks ago was "World Championship may move to China" – plastered over the BBC website among many other places – when in fact none of the gubbins of any of the reports suggested that anything other than an informal chat had taken place.

Equally, this seems to confirm that, while a move to China in the medium/long term could not be ruled out, the short term would not seem to be the right time.

The first story, therefore, pretty much never was, and this seems a more indepth response to it.


Claus Christensen said...

Great news! The WSC belongs in Sheffield.
Imagine the sumo world championship being moved to Ryiadh or Dubai because a suitcase of oil money is dropped on mr. Sakasushi's table (fictional character). Compete in sumo wrestling if you like - but accept going to Japan to do so. You get the analogy..