World Snooker: Ex champ Mark Williams slams Sheffield Crucible venue

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DOUBLE world champion Mark Williams has taken an amazing potshot at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre on the eve of this year’s World Championship.

The Welshman used his account on Twitter to brand the iconic venue as a “sh*thole” and “rubbish”.

And the Welshman, a Crucible winner in 2000 and 2003, even said he hoped snooker’s biggest tournament would be played in China one day.

Williams said on Twitter yesterday: “World Championships just around the corner. Shame its played in the crucible, sh*t hole, hopefully it will be in China soon. Rubbish, rather play in Pontins.”

When contacted Williams confirmed it was him who had made the remarks and that no-one had hacked into his online account. He said: “I don’t like the venue, and have never liked playing there. It is everything about it, from the players’ lounge upwards.

“I think it is inevitable it will end up in China, they have five events already and we only have three [in the UK].”

The timing of Williams’ remarks certainly won’t please the sport’s governing body, World Snooker.

And Williams even hinted that he would be disciplined for his remarks. He added on Twitter: “Over hyped is correct. It’s only my opinion about the Crucible WSA so don’t send me any letters or fines.”

Williams has twice won the world title at the Crucible beating Matthew Stevens 18-16 and, three years later, Dubliner Ken Doherty 18-16.

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said he would be happy to keep the World Championship at the Crucible for a long time.

The tournament has been staged at the venue since 1977 and the current contract runs until 2015.

Hearn said: “We’ve had fantastic support from Sheffield City Council, Welcome to Yorkshire and the BBC, and as long as that continues I’d be happy to keep the event at the Crucible until the day I die. There’s is so much history associated with the Crucible, it is synonymous with snooker and the World Championship.”