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Hossein Vafaei slams “smelly” Crucible conditions and calls for World Championship move

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Vafaei crashed out in Round One (Photo by Richard Sellers/Alamy Stock)

Hossein Vafaei unleashed a bizarre rant against the Crucible conditions following his first round exit at the World Championship on Sunday.

Vafaei was soundly beaten 10-5 by Judd Trump in the opening round in Sheffield, but hit out at what he describes as a “smelly” venue that he would be happy to never play in again.

The Iranian has become the latest player to advocate the sport’s blue riband event being relocated when the Crucible contract ends in 2027, with Saudi Arabia and China among the rumoured contenders.

“History is very important but when nobody invests any money in this historical venue, let’s forget the history,” said Vafaei.

“You want to go somewhere really nice as a player, as a media team. You walk around the Crucible and it smells really bad.

“As a player I’m honest, it’s just really bad. Everything’s so bad. You go to other venues in other countries and you see how nice they treat you. Everything is shiny. But here it’s completely different.

“If you ask me do I want to come back here again, I tell you no way. The practice room, do you see anything special? I feel like I’m practicing in a garage. I’m coming from a different country to see that? It’s not good.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan has led the calls for the World Championship to be moved away from its spiritual home in Sheffield – which has hosted the event since 1977, and Vafaei believes the players receive better treatment in the Middle East and Asia.

He added: “Look at the China venues, how they organise the tournament, how fantastic they treat the players, a red carpet and an opening ceremony, the players are treated like stars.

“But here no-one looks after the players, before and after the match no one cares who you are. China, Saudi, I think it will be good for everyone.

“I understand so many people working here, if the Crucible moves they will probably lose their jobs and this is sad, but if they don’t want to lose the Crucible make it shinier, make it cleaner, make it nicer for the people. Why do we have to find a reason to lose the Crucible?”

Riyadh Season has become an official partner of this year’s World Snooker Championship, and the world’s top ten players, plus two wildcards, will return to Saudi Arabia in 2025 for the second staging of the lucrative World Masters of Snooker.