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Ronnie O’Sullivan would welcome World Snooker Championship move to Saudi Arabia

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Ronnie O’Sullivan admits he would have no issue with the World Snooker Championship moving from Sheffield to Saudi Arabia.

O’Sullivan, who has signed a three-year ambassadorial deal with the WST and Riyadh Season, says he would find the tournament more ‘convenient’ as a player if it was to be moved away from The Crucible.

The Crucible has been home to the sport’s show-piece event since 1977, but the current contract expires in 2027, raising fresh speculation over a more lucrative relocation.

Speaking after signing the ambassadorial agreement, O’Sullivan told Sky Sports: “As a player, and I think I speak for most of the players, that practice facilities, hotels, getting in and out of the venue, not having to worry about where I’m going to eat, everything [in Saudi] is laid on for you.

“All I’ve got to do is go and play my match, which is great.

“The Crucible is a bit tougher, you have to plot your way around the event, when to go and practice, where to eat.

“I’m just comparing, I’m not saying I want everything laid on, I’m just saying if you had the choice, you’d choose somewhere where everything is laid on for you.

“Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t got an issue with The Crucible, but some of the events we play in like Saudi Arabia and China, it’s a lot easier as a player because all you have to do is play.

“Sheffield is great, it’s got the history, and that history will never change, but come on, history is getting rewritten every day.

“I think if Eddie and Barry [Hearn] and World Snooker decide that it’s right to take it [World Championship] to Saudi Arabia – why not?”

O’Sullivan won the first televised tournament in Saudi Arabia last month, pocketing the £250,000 top prize after contesting just 16 frames.

The event featured a new golden ball which could only be potted after a player had completed a maximum break of 147 to extend the break to 167.

As no player achieved the feat, HE Turki Alalshikh confirmed that the bonus prize will be doubled to $1 million should any player do so in next year’s Saudi World Masters of Snooker.

Riyadh Season has become an official partner of the World Snooker Championship in 2024, and the world’s top ten players, plus two wildcards, will return to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2025.

O’Sullivan’s ambassadorial commitments will include regular visits to Saudi Arabia to coach aspiring talent, as well as an agreement that he will compete in all WST events in Saudi Arabia.

In the meantime, The Rocket will return to The Crucible in search of a record eighth world title and what would be a first career seasonal Triple Crown, having also claimed the UK Championship and Masters titles during the 2023/24 campaign.