Sheffields status as the home of snooker has been given a boost with the announcement by World Snooker today (Friday) that all qualifying events, including those for the World Championship and stages of a new professional competition are to be hosted by the city in addition to extending the agreement for the World Professional Snooker Championship.
Eleven new events will take place in Sheffield at the World Snooker Academy in the city during the 2010/2011 season. Qualifying events for ranking tournaments and four of the new Players Tour Championships will be staged. The Players Tour Championship is an exciting addition to the sport where professional players and amateur qualifiers will compete in 12 tournaments across Europe for their chance to play in a 24 strong televised event to be held in March 2011.
The news comes after Sheffield City Council and World Snooker finalised the formal agreement to host the World Professional Snooker Championship for 2011 to 2015 inclusive. Earlier this week Sheffield City Councils Cabinet formally approved the proposals for the city to host the blue ribbon championship. The event has been secured by Sheffield through a partnership of the City Council, Creative Sheffield and Welcome to Yorkshire, the new tourism agency for the Yorkshire region.
Barry Hearn, Chairman of World Snooker, said Sheffields reputation as Snooker City has now been given a new momentum.
I am very pleased that The Betfred.com World Snooker Championship will continue to be held in Sheffield for a further five years. The Crucible holds a lot of memories for me personally, but also for millions of fans around the World.
Sheffield and Welcome to Yorkshire have shown tremendous commitment to World Snooker and we are very pleased to develop our relationship further. Hosting our Qualifying tournaments and PTC events at the Academy ensures the top professional players get increased access to the world-class facilities which we have provided for them.
Sheffield City Council Chief Executive John Mothersole underlined the importance of snooker to the city and the development of the relationship with World Snooker.
He said: "The World Snooker Championship represents, by a sizeable margin, the highest profile and most prestigious annual sporting event hosted by the city. As well as the massive economic impact, and the boost in local pride in the city hosting the event every year, people visiting the city to see the snooker have a positive opinion of Sheffield. This is why both Sheffield City Council and Creative Sheffield have worked so hard to retain the Championship through to 2015.
An additional benefit is the opportunity to showcase the newly opened Crucible Theatre, which has undergone a 15 million transformation and is now a world-class venue for a world-class event."
We are also delighted to see that the citys very positive relationship with World Snooker is developing further, and that we will be hosting both the professional qualifiers and stages of the Players Tour Championship here in Sheffield in the future.
Shaun Murphy, 2005 World Champion was equally enthusiastic about the announcement, It is great news for snooker, for our sport and for Sheffield. There is a great history here and there have been some memorable moments. Having lived in Sheffield I know its a great city.This sends out a message to all concerned, its a very positive for the sport.
Dan Bates from Sheffield Theatres underlined the significance of the announcement, It is fantastic that Sheffield will still be hosting such a prestigious, world class and internationally recognised event. We have a strong part to play - not only in terms of tradition but the Crucible has consistently met the needs of the players, press and public for over 30 years. I am delighted that the refurbishment has lived up to its promise, and we look forward to many more World Snooker championships to come.
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire added: We are delighted that the World Snooker Championships will continue to be held in Sheffield for another five years; snooker and Sheffield are synonymous with one another. The extra competitions are also fantastic news for Sheffield and must surely secure its place as the worlds number one Snooker City. Yorkshire is proud to host world class major events and as a world class destination we look forward to welcoming snooker fans from around the world to enjoy everything we have to offer.