Ronnie O’Sullivan admits he would welcome a World Championship behind closed doors

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Ronnie O’Sullivan takes centre stage (Photo by PA Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan believes a World Championship played without a crowd would be better than no World Championship at all.

The sport’s show-piece event has been rescheduled for July 31 to August 16 after initially being postponed due to government restrictions relating the Coronavirus pandemic.

According to WST Chairman Barry Hearn, the preference is to stage the tournament in front of a crowd at The Crucible – which has a capacity of just under 1,000.

However, if government restrictions remain in place, “careful consideration” will be given to other scenarios, including a reduced crowd, playing the tournament behind closed doors, or postponing the event further.

Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan says he would prefer for the tournament to be played behind closed doors for the first time, as opposed to it being cancelled entirely.

Speaking to Stephen Hendry on Instagram Live last week, O’Sullivan said: “I watched the Gibraltar Open final and there was no one in the crowd and it was quite bizarre to watch.

“I suppose from a TV point of view, a lot of people are sitting there just wanting to watch some live sport, so maybe from that point of view, any type of World Championship would probably be better than no World Championship.”

O’Sullivan will be embarking on his latest quest to equal Steve Davis’ tally of six world titles and end a seven-year wait for glory in Sheffield.

O’Sullivan, who missed January’s Masters, admitted last year that he was considering skipping all Triple Crown events, but told his former rival Hendry he would “love” to win another world title.

“Of course I’d love to win the World Championship but I think sometimes my life is so chaotic off the table,” said the 44-year-old.

“I’m not making excuses, I never make excuses, but I must admit my off the table life has just made it a little bit difficult to really focus on snooker.

“I have to take responsibility for that and I’ve accepted it and I’ll make do with the best of it.

“At one stage I’d have taken one world title, that’s generally how I felt, so to win five, I kind of have to pinch myself a bit.

“If I never win another tournament or world title, I shouldn’t be too hard on myself.

“But don’t get me wrong, I would love to win another world title.”

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