Plans to build a new World Snooker Championship venue and offer an increased capacity of the iconic Crucible in Sheffield have been announced.
The new building - designed by architect James Burland who designed Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium - will be directly next to the currently used and much-loved Crucible, linked together via a bridge.
Matches would still be played at the original Crucible Theatre, but there would also be the option to host ties in the new, bigger arena.
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The plans unveiled show the new arena would have the capacity to host up to 3,000 spectators, over triple the amount that the Crucible currently holds at 980.
The Crucible - which has been home to the World Snooker Championship since 1977 - has come in for criticism for being too small in terms of playing area and capacity, with the risk that the tournament may start to “look smaller”.
World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association chairman Jason Ferguson told Sportsmail: ‘‘This is a concept and an idea to try and grow this event in some way.
We have no intention of moving from Sheffield. It is our home. But we know we really need to be looking at around 3,000 seats for the World Championship now.
“Events like the Masters are growing so much and the danger is that the World Championship starts to look smaller, which it really can’t because it’s the crown jewels of what we do.
“This is not the only route but it is an initial concept that James has come up with. Can the Crucible be a dual site?
“At this stage, it’s very early discussions but we are coming up with a concept of what would be a huge benefit for the city and a true international destination.”
The new venue would include tiered seating, the main area including three tiers, a corporate hospitality tier in the middle, while there would be a floor below that would be able to host the qualifiers.
Burland explained: “I quite like the idea you are scrapping it out to get a position in the Colosseum above. Then the Holy of Holies is to win and go across the bridge to play.”
The proposed new venue would have the ability to host other sports when there is no snooker being played, but would be a dedicated home to snooker, with an in-house museum also planned.
The exciting plans will potentially get underway after the Crucible’s contract runs out in 2027, but until then nothing will change.
“There is a huge road to go down with this,” said Ferguson. “That would involve what is possible from a planning perspective, how can it be financed, who are the partners in it.
“We will have a meeting to try and move the discussion on with Sheffield City Council. They are very open-minded about what could be done.
“I think a feasibility study will throw up the answers and I think that would be the next phase.”
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