Ronnie O’Sullivan makes World Snooker Championship plea but suggests China venue switch

Ronnie O'Sullivan explains why he made a 146 in 2016

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Seven-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan believes the World Snooker Championship should remain at the iconic theatre Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. However, the Rocket admitted it could be interesting to move the tournament if China comes in with an offer the sport could not refuse. 

O’Sullivan moved level with Stephen Hendry for the most world titles in the sport’s modern era as he defeated Judd Trump 18-13 on Monday. In the afternoon session, Trump won six of eight frames to make the score 14-11 before O’Sullivan sealed his famous win and the £500,000 prize as he took four of the evening session’s six frames. 

The ‘Rocket’ shared an emotional embrace with his opponent at the end of the match before greeting his children, who ran into the arena to share his historic moment. In winning, the 46-year-old became the oldest world champion in history, eclipsing the record set by Ray Reardon who was 45 when he won his sixth title aged 45.

The win cemented his position as the greatest player to ever pick up a cue, and O’Sullivan used his status to lend his voice to the debate surrounding where the World Championship should be held. Many players believe the tournament should leave the Crucible for a modern venue, but the World No. 1 insists the event must remain in Sheffield unless there is a sensational offer.

“I really like the Crucible, I think it’s an amazing venue,” O’Sullivan told talkSPORT. “It’s sort of iconic, there’s a brilliant atmosphere. 

“It is our best venue and I’d only move it if they could get 5,000 people which would mean double the prize money. Or unless China come in with an offer that you just couldn’t refuse. Otherwise why would you move it from Sheffield? Sheffield has been great to snooker, it’s sort of like the home of snooker really. Until someone comes up with an offer you can’t refuse then I’d just keep it where it is.”

Trump, defeated by O’Sullivan in the final, previously backed the World Championship to leave Sheffield but has changed his view after he reached his third final. After his loss, the 32-year-old said: “I was wrong when I said I wanted to move from here. I think it should definitely stay at the Crucible.”

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O’Sullivan secured the prize money of half a million pounds when he won the title, and said he’s going to relax and ‘explore’ the Lake District to celebrate. The seven-time world champion added he is planning to play plenty of exhibitions to excite and entertain fans, while he is also planning a trip to Cairo in Egypt. 

The event is seven months away, but O’Sullivan could be celebrating again soon as his odds to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award for the first time are already down to 4-1 among bookmakers. Steve Davis won the gong in 1988 while Hendry finished second behind England international footballer Paul Gascoigne in 1990.

O’Sullivan has been snubbed down the years and was shortlisted for the 2020 award but missed out on the top three despite winning his sixth world title. The snooker icon admitted he does not care about accolades like the iconic BBC award.

“I won’t ever get that one. I don’t know why,” O’Sullivan revealed. “I don’t think I’ll be in the hunt. I don’t think so. It’s not one I want to win. I’m not bothered about awards, trophies or accolades.”

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