"Snooker would not be same without it:' Ronnie O'Sullivan hopes Crucible can survive Covid crisis

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Snooker ace Ronnie O’Sullivan says he hopes Sheffield’s famous Crucible theatre 'will never die’ as the venue faces an uncertain future over the coronavirus crisis.

O’Sullivan, currently aiming for his sixth world title with a 10-7 lead over Kyren Wilson in the final of the World Snooker Championship, spoke out after hearing of the theatre’s troubles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month, Sheffield Theatres announced that 29 per cent of its workforce was at risk of redundancy, as its venues will not fully reopen until spring next year at the earliest.

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The group, which is made up of the Crucible, Lyceum and Studio theatres in Sheffield said in a statement that the continued closure and redundancies were due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ronnie O'Sullivan hopes the Crucible can survive the coronavirus crisisRonnie O'Sullivan hopes the Crucible can survive the coronavirus crisis
Ronnie O'Sullivan hopes the Crucible can survive the coronavirus crisis

The Rocket has given his support to snooker’s showpiece venue and said: “This place is important, and I believe it will never die. The snooker means it is recognised worldwide.

“I was at some awards thing with the Royal Family, I think it was Prince Philip. He said, 'You play snooker, is it the Crucible?' And I say, 'Yes, that is it, sir'. He didn't know who I was!

'”Even Prince Philip knows nothing about me but he knows about the Crucible! You cannot lose the Crucible.

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“He doesn't know me, he probably thinks, 'Who's this piece of s*** in my house?”

Wilson, playing in his first Crucible final, said: “You cannot replace this place. For snooker, the history, being here, the pictures on the walls outside, it is so special to our game in particular.

'I love the Crucible and hope they can bounce back from what is happening, and 100 per cent we need them to pull through. Snooker would not be the same without it.'

There is a deal in place between World Snooker Tour, Sheffield City Council and the Crucible to stage the World Championship until at least 2027.

And owner, Sheffield Theatres, are confident that will be fulfilled.

The championships have been held in Sheffield since 1977.