In Brief

Ronnie O’Sullivan: ‘hellhole’ English Open venue smells of urine

The Rocket says players deserve better from World Snooker

Snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan has launched a scathing attack on the venue currently hosting the English Open tournament.

Following his 4-1 first-round victory against Kurt Maflin yesterday, the “Rocket” called the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley a “hellhole”. Quoted by the BBC, the five-time snooker world champion said: “It’s such a bad venue, it demotivates you to want to play. This is about as bad as I’ve ever seen. 

“I don’t know what this gaff is but I’ve just done an interview and all I can smell is urine. It’s just got no atmosphere in there. I’m practising and I’ve got wires all around the table. There’s no security, you’ve got people running at you left, right and centre.

“It’s not the fans’ fault. They [World Snooker] obviously haven’t got the budget to run it properly. I don’t know where their budget is but they’re cutting corners. I think they should invest in good venues. Players deserve better.”

No formal complaint

In response to O’Sullivan’s claims the sport’s governing body World Snooker said in a statement: “We are surprised to hear these comments from Ronnie given that he has made no formal complaint and the feedback from the other players has been overwhelmingly positive. And the partners we are working with on the event agree with our view that K2 Crawley is an excellent venue with very good facilities.

“There was a fantastic crowd in the arena today and the ticket sales for the event have already surpassed the total sales for 2016 and 2017.”

A spokesperson from K2 Crawley added: “We are sorry and disappointed to hear that Ronnie has voiced some concerns over the venue, especially after feedback from everybody else has been so positive.”

World No.3 O’Sullivan, the defending champion, will play Allan Taylor in the second round of the English Open.

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