World Championship is staying at the Crucible for 10 more years

World Championship is staying at the Crucible for 10 more years

Barry Hearn announced the Crucible will keep the World Championship for the next 10 years in a move that crushes Chinese hopes of snatching the event.

The tournament was brought to the Sheffield theatre in 1977 by promoter Mike Watterson, whose wife Carole watched a play there and suggested it would make an ideal snooker venue.

And it will remain in Sheffield on a long-term basis after World Snooker chairman Hearn confirmed the deal on the second day of this year's final.

The Crucible's 980-seat capacity is a frustrating restriction, and it had been thought that other venues in the city could be under consideration.

But Hearn said: "We're at the Crucible - Sheffield's synonymous with the Crucible.

"The Crucible is where we come from, there's the history, that's where the deal's for. The deal is with the Crucible Theatre as well as Sheffield City Council."

Hearn is already facing a backlash from fans over soaring ticket prices, with a major price hike for the 2017 tournament angering many regulars on Monday. He cites the small capacity as the reason for the price inflation.

And there may also be disenchantment felt in China, where the desire to stage snooker's premier event has even seen a replica Crucible constructed in Beijing.

The sport has many leading stakeholders in the Far East, where its popularity has soared since the turn of the century, and for the first time this year China had a World Championship finalist in Ding Junhui.

"This doesn't mean we don't have plans for huge, monster tournaments in China. We will do that - they just won't be called the World Championship," Hearn said.

"We had to consider a lot of things. We have a huge problem with tickets and capacity, as we have found again today releasing next year's tickets. Demand is overwhelming.

"We are doing our best to keep it affordable, but it is a big event and people will be disappointed.

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