Nelson Policies Nelson Policies Menu

May 14, 2024

Snooker World Championships 2024 and the future of Sheffield’s iconic Crucible

The 2024 Snooker World Championships concluded on May 6, with a memorable final at the Crucible in Sheffield. The exciting tournament saw snooker icon Ronnie O-Sullivan eliminated in the quarter finals by Stuart Bingham and ended with Kyren Wilson beating Wales’s Jak Jones 18 – 14 to secure the title for the first time. The win puts the Kettering player above Luca Brecel and Ronnie O-Sullivan to end the season as World Number 3.

The World Snooker Championships have provided epic tournaments and finals since the contest’s inception in1927 at Camkin’s Hill in Birmingham. It is the longest-running and most prestigious tournament in professional snooker and is one of three tournaments which make up the Triple Crown Series.

The first contest was won by Joe Davis, who dominated the tournament for its first two decades, having won 15 world championships from 1927 to 1946. Davis is credited with developing aspects of the modern game, such as break-building in which players score points by making a series of uninterrupted pots. In 1955, Davis became the first player to make an officially recognised maximum break. The maximum break is known as a ‘one-four-seven,’ after the highest possible number a player can score in one break.

The Crucible

The World Snooker Championships were first held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield in 1977. The tournament has remained there ever since. The iconic venue opened in 1971 and its name is in reference to the local steel industry.

Speculation was sparked that the future of the venue may be in jeopardy, when, during build-up to this year’s tournament, seven-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan suggested the contest should be moved to either China or Saudi Arabia, as a means of maximising profit. Adding to the concern, following defeat in the second round, Iranian snooker player Hossein Vafaei criticised conditions at the Crucible, labelling the venue as ‘smelly’ and comparing the practice room facilities to “playing in a garage.”

Barry Hearn, the former World Snooker chairman and president of Matchroom, warned that the days of Sheffield hosting the prestigious event could be numbered. Talking to the BBC, he said:

“I am doing absolutely everything I can to stay in Sheffield and it takes two to tango – I’ll stay here while we’re wanted, and I think we’re wanted.
“But they’ve got to be realistic. We’ve said for the last few years we need a new venue that seats 2,500 to 3,000 people.
“I’m looking for Sheffield to come to the party and if they do, we’re staying. If they don’t, they’re really saying that we don’t want to, so it’s not really my call.”

With the future of the legendary snooker venue in Sheffield looking uncertain, the World Snooker Championship reminds us of the importance of insurance for snookers halls and other sports venues. The right insurance is vital to ensure all players, spectators, coaching teams, commentators, TV crews and more, are protected in case an incident occurs.
As well as high-profile venues like the Crucible requiring the right insurance, it is also vital that smaller facilities are adequately protected with the right insurance.

The Nelson Sports, Social, Health & Leisure product is available on a commercial combined, property or liability only basis, and is designed to cater for a variety of amateur sports clubs, private member social clubs, health, leisure, including snooker halls and venues.