Pic left to right: Councillor Paul Scriven, Leader of Sheffield City Council, Mark Allen and World Snooker Chairman Sir Rodney Walker.
World Snooker and Sheffield City Council have secured the deal that ensures the ‘blue riband’ event of the snooker season will be hosted by the city until 2014, with an option to extend the contract to 2015.
Sir Rodney Walker, Chairman of World Snooker, said: “Sheffield has, over the years, consistently demonstrated a genuine desire to retain and develop further its status as the UK’s Snooker City. We acknowledge openly the enthusiasm and ongoing support Sheffield provides for the development and promotion of the sport, and are delighted to have reached this new agreement.”
Councillor Paul Scriven, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “Sheffield is the home of world snooker and we were determined that it stays here. This is excellent news not only for Sheffield and Yorkshire but also for snooker fans in this country who come to the city to enjoy the sport and for the millions of people who watch their heroes in action on television around the world.
“With our partners, Welcome to Yorkshire and Yorkshire Forward, we have now ensured that Sheffield will continue to play a key role in the Betfred.com World Snooker Championship as it has done for more than three decades,” he added.
Snooker’s top players added their endorsement to the news. Six-times World Champion Steve Davis said: “I’ve got fantastic memories here so it will always be a special place for me. I’ve always said that it would need a very good reason to move the event away from Sheffield. It’s the snooker city and everyone associates this event with the Crucible.”
Mark Allen, who knocked out Ronnie O’Sullivan last Saturday, said: “I’ve only played here for the last three years but I absolutely love the place and couldn’t imagine this tournament being staged anywhere else. The atmosphere when I beat Ronnie was so intense and you could only get that at the Crucible.”
And 2007 Crucible finalist Mark Selby added: “It’s great news that we’re here for another five years. The players love this place and the enthusiasm of the fans and support we get in Sheffield is second to none.”
The Crucible has staged the event since 1977 and is undergoing a major multi-million pound refurbishment programme. Sheffield’s strong links with the sport have resulted in the World Snooker Academy being based at the English Institute of Sport in the city.
Sheffield City Council’s agreement with World Snooker is being supported by Yorkshire Forward and Welcome to Yorkshire, the new name for Yorkshire Tourist Board.