Mark Allen feels moving World Championship away from Crucible is ‘‘inevitable’'

The Antrim man has been drawn to face Robbie Williams in the opening round of this year’s event, which starts tomorrow

Mark Allen
Mark Allen will face Robbie Williams in the opening round of the World Snooker Championship (Bradley Collyer/PA)

MARK Allen believes that unless the Crucible can find some way of holding more spectators then moving the World Snooker Championship to another venue seems ‘‘inevitable.’’

The world number three from Antrim, who has been drawn to face Robbie Williams in the opening round of this year’s Cazoo-sponsored event, which begins tomorrow, had his say on the growing debate sparked by world number one and seven-times World champion, Ronnie O’Sullivan, who believes that a move away from the iconic Sheffield venue would be good for the game.

O’Sullivan’s musings came on the same week that World Snooker Tour, the game’s governing body, announced that he would serve as an ambassador of the game in Saudi Arabia as part of an official partnership with Riyadh Season aimed at promoting the game in the Kingdom.

While Allen believes a move away from the Crucible, may be necessary to ‘’grow the sport’' he hopes that a new venue can be found in the UK after World Snooker Tour’s current deal with the Crucible ends in 2027, 50 years after the first championship was held there.

Speaking on BBC 5 Live, he said:’’It’s a real tough question. I’m a traditionalist in a sense that I love the game and am aware of the great history of the sport but times change and the sport needs to grow and evolve.

‘’I’m not one that will push for a move, I love the Crucible and love the atmosphere, but for the bigger picture of growing the sport it might need to move away.’’

Another former Crucible champion, Ken Doherty, has also laid his colours firmly to the mast, the 1997 winner posting on X: ‘It’s the home of the Worlds and should never leave’.