Higgins agrees with Brecel’s vision to modernise snooker

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John Higgins leans down to take a shot
John Higgins will face Luca Brecel or Noppon Saengkham in the second round of the World Championships.

By Ben Parsons

Four-time World Champion John Higgins voiced his support for proposals made by Belgian star Luca Brecel to modernise snooker.

Brecel, 27, outlined his visions to revolutionise the game to make it appeal to younger audiences ahead of his World Championship campaign.

The former European Under-19 champion is one of the sport’s most exciting stars and secured a breakthrough victory at the Scottish Open this season and believes a new fanbase could be reached by altering dress codes and overhauling punditry panels.

“I think there’s a lot of potential in this game, but the problem is we keep seeing people like John Parrott and Steve Davis,” he told Metro.co.uk

"I know they’re great players and legends, but you need to get younger people in.

"There’s so many great characters in the game but no one sees it because they never come on TV.

He added: “I like how snooker looks, but (the dress code) for the players is a bit difficult sometimes, with the bow tie, it’s all very stiff. It would be nice if it could change.”

Higgins, making his 28th appearance at the Sheffield showpiece, is on board with Brecel’s plans.

“I’ve been about for so long and there are some things that could stay the same but there are some things I wouldn’t mind changing,” he said.

“If the powers that be and the broadcasting stations get the younger guys to get their point of view, I’m all for that.

“Maybe that would be one that should stay,” Higgins added, when asked about a different dress code at the blue-riband event.

“I wouldn’t be against it in any of the other events, we’ve seen it at the Champion of Champions and it went pretty well.

“The World Championship is a little bit different but I’d be up for anything.”

Former world number one Higgins will face Brecel or Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham in the second-round after defeating Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 10-7 at the Crucible.

Higgins was run close by rapid Un-Nooh and trailed 4-2 and 5-4 before clash shone through as his Thai opponent began to falter.

The Scottish great has battle scars from five ranking event final defeats this season, but remains a top contender for a fifth Crucible crown.

Higgins also weighed in on the growing debate surrounding a ‘second Crucible’ in Sheffield.

Australian Neil Robertson made the radical suggestion of building a second arena in the Steel city to showcase the tournament because of the ‘cramped conditions’ in the iconic theatre.

A controversial dual-venue setup is now being explored by World Snooker president Barry Hearn.

But Higgins strongly opposes the idea and does not understand the logic of moving some matches away from the sport’s spiritual home.

“I wouldn’t like it. If you’re having it in Sheffield, then have it here," he said.

"What is the point in moving it? It brings its own uniqueness because you're playing in a cramped space, the crowds, everything about it.

“If you’re moving it, you move it to a purpose-built arena. It should be all-in one way or another.

“I’d love to see it stay in Sheffield, it's the home of snooker, but I’m not going for the idea that 16 players are playing in one place and the other 16 players are in another place.”

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