Ding Junhui speaks out on future of the World Snooker Championship

Ding Junhui wants to see a world tour for the World Championship (Picture: Getty Images)

Ding Junhui believes the World Snooker Championship should go on a global tour if it is to leave Sheffield, wanting to see a string of nations hosting the sport’s biggest event.

The tournament is under contract to be held at the Crucible until 2027 but it now seems extremely unlikely to stay at the Sheffield theatre past that point.

Matchroom Sport chairman Barry Hearn says he has asked Sheffield City Council to build a much bigger venue than the 980-seat Crucible and if they don’t then the tournament will go elsewhere.

Hearn has suggested that Saudi Arabia are interested in hosting the tournament, while he also suggested something of a trip around the planet for the World Championship.

‘There may be a plan of saying, well we are the World Championships, we’ll take this tournament round the world,’ said Hearn. ‘So we’ll go to Saudi Arabia for one year, then we’ll go to Beijing the next and then we’ll come back to Sheffield and then we’ll go to [Las] Vegas. There’s a whole different way of looking at it.’

Ding, who has been an integral part of the explosion of snooker in China over the last 20 years, also feels the World Championship should live up to its name and move around the globe, in a bid to create new markets and audiences for the game.

‘World Championship, in my opinion, they shouldn’t sign a long contract for that,’ said Ding after defeat to Jack Lisowski in the opening round in Sheffield. Maybe hold it in Asia, in Africa, America, Europe, every year [somewhere different] would be good. Then the other tournaments can be local ones.

Cazoo World Snooker Championship 2024 - Day Five

Barry Hearn has called on Sheffield City Council to build a new arena (Picture: Getty Images)

‘It’s the biggest and most important tournament, so if they want to move it then move it. Let’s see what happens because it has never happened before.’

Ding has long been a resident of Sheffield, with his own snooker academy in the city, and he says he would love to win the World Championship for the first time in the South Yorkshire city before it leaves.

‘I want to win it before they move,’ he said. ‘I don’t know [if I can]. I try to believe it.’

MORE : Crucible’s World Snooker Championship days numbered as Barry Hearn says: ‘It’s all about money’

MORE : Barry Hearn dismisses threat of breakaway tour but sends message to players

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