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China may host World Championship

Sir Rodney Walker
Walker has said the Snooker World Championship may be moved

The World Snooker Championship could be moved to China, according to the chairman of the game's governing body.

The event has been held at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre since 1977, but the WPBSA's contract expires in 2010.

And Sir Rodney Walker says they may switch the event to China to reap the benefits of the sport's popularity.

"We have a contract which has two years to run, but beyond that we have to evaluate all options and decide what is best for our members," he said.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Walker added: "During the Shanghai Masters I was asked about the prospect of moving the World Championship to China.

"The momentum of snooker in China is growing and this is not the first time the matter has been raised there, although discussions are at a very early stage."

606: DEBATE
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David Fletcher, director of Creative Sheffield - who work on behalf of Sheffield City Council, said negotiations with World Snooker are ongoing and is confident the city still has a lot to offer beyond 2010.

"We acknowledge and respect World Snooker's intention to evaluate all options in terms of the future of the World Snooker Championships beyond the current contract with Sheffield, which runs until 2010," he told BBC Sport.

"There is no doubt that China will play an increasingly significant role in the growth of snooker, which has now become a truly global sport.

"However, Sheffield has worked hard over the last few years to become a key partner for World Snooker, for example in the development of the World Snooker Academy, positioning snooker in an elite sporting environment - the English Institute of Sport complex.

"Sheffield is now also hosting the professional qualifying events for the Masters, UK and World Championships.

"We are currently in a dialogue with World Snooker about the future of the World Championships beyond 2010 and believe there are still compelling arguments for the event to remain here for several years into the future."

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