Players criticise 'circus' format of UK Snooker Championship

World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association chairman Jason Ferguson has defended the new UK Championship format after criticism from some of the world's leading players.

Players criticise 'circus' format of UK Snooker Championship

World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association chairman Jason Ferguson has defended the new UK Championship format after criticism from some of the world's leading players.

Despite both winning comfortably, Judd Trump and Ali Carter spoke out on Thursday against the multi-table format at York's Barbican Centre and having to play in a 128-strong first round.

But Ferguson told BBC Sport on Friday: "In York we now have 128 players competing and it used to be 32.

"Obviously that brings logistical problems and we are ironing out those problems as we go along."

World number four Trump labelled the multi-table set-up a "circus" and claimed after his 6-2 win over amateur Gareth Green that "all I could think of was making a 147".

Carter added after beating Thailand's Ratchayothin Yotharuck 6-1: "It's not for me, this flat draw. I don't think the venue can accommodate it.

"It's hard to believe that if you are in the top 16 you would be in favour of this."

Ferguson continued: "I saw Judd's comments. He has had a difficult season and I am sure he is feeling some pressure. But we do take concerns of players on board.

"I can understand concerns and the new format has maybe felt a bit harsh for some players. It was a system that protected them for a long time but now they are exposed, so maybe some are a little bit concerned.

"But as a governing body we have to make decisions for the global benefit of the sport. There are more opportunities for players now but we have to make sure that it is a level playing field for all."

Addressing claims that conditions were too cramped, with four tables in the main arena and four more in the secondary 'sports hall' venue, Ferguson pointed out that the space around the tables was equal to that in the two-table stage of the World Championship.

He said: "I don't think we have everything right by any means. It is inevitable there will be teething troubles.

"Putting more tables into a venue obviously has an impact and there have been comments about the measurements, which we fully accept.

"But they are the same measurements as the Crucible Theatre - so they are the same as the premier snooker competition."

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