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Page last updated at 13:53 GMT, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 14:53 UK

World Snooker to stay at Crucible

The Crucible Theatre in two-table mode
The Crucible has hosted snooker's most prestigious event for 32 years

The World Snooker Championship is to stay in Sheffield until 2014 after an contract extension was agreed.

The tournament has been staged at the city's Crucible theatre since 1977, however Chinese officials were keen to take it to the Far East.

World Snooker's deal with the Sheffield authorities had been due to expire after the 2010 event.

However, it was confirmed at a news conference on Tuesday that a three-year extension has been agreed.

The deal comes after talks between World Snooker, Sheffield City Council and the Yorkshire Tourist Board.

World Snooker chairman Sir Rodney Walker said: "It guarantees that the event will stay in Sheffield now for at least five further years.

"There is an option for a further year subject to a decision yet to be taken on expanding the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield."

Fungus the Bogeyman

Sheffield City Council leader Paul Scriven said: "We feel like Stephen Hendry did this morning - we feel we've got a 147 break.

"We continue to be a good friend and ally of World Snooker and will ensure we do all possible to ensure snooker is retained here beyond 2014."

Walker has previously suggested that the tournament could one day be held in China or Dubai, something he reiterated on Tuesday.

"The world order is changing, the economic power base is moving East, that's for sure," said Walker. "We couldn't afford to close the door on an opportunity that might see the event in the Far East in the future.

"I had a meeting today with the Chinese and there may well be other events we can offer to the Chinese as compensation for not getting the World Championship.

"Their interest was very serious. We also had a provisional expression of interest from Dubai."

BBC snooker reporter Phillip Studd said: "The idea that the tournament might move to China in the near future was never really a goer.

"The time difference would create difficulties for the UK audience, and the BBC television deal is frankly far too valuable to be sacrificed.

"Not that having China as a possible alternative would have done any harm when negotiating a new deal with Sheffield City Council.

"The arrival of new sponsor BetFred, who have signed a four-year deal, is also significant.

"My understanding is that they will influence how the game is run and marketed in the future, and they were very keen for the Championship to stay at its spiritual home. "

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see also
China may host World Championship
08 Oct 08 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
20 Jan 09 |  Snooker

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