Iran world snooker star says 'smelly' Crucible can learn from China

Red carpet? <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Iran;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Iran</a>'s Hossein Vafaei blasted the Crucible Theatre venue (Oli SCARFF)
Red carpet? Iran's Hossein Vafaei blasted the Crucible Theatre venue (Oli SCARFF)

Iran's Hossein Vafaei said Sunday that the Crucible Theatre venue for the world snooker championships "smells really bad" and the tournament can learn from China where players are "treated like stars".

Vafaei lost his first-round clash 10-5 to former champion Judd Trump and lashed out at the conditions at the arena in Sheffield which has hosted the event since 1977.

"Everything's so bad -- if you ask me if I want to come back here, I would tell you no way," said Vafaei.

"Forget the history, you want to go somewhere really nice as a player. You walk round the Crucible and it smells really bad. You go to other countries, and everything is shiny. But here it's completely different.

"The practice room -- do you see anything special? I feel like I'm practising in a garage."

World number one Ronnie O'Sullivan has already suggested the world championship should be moved to Saudi Arabia or China when the existing deal expires in 2027.

"Look at the China venues, how fantastic they treat the players, a red carpet and an opening ceremony," said Vafaei.

"The players are treated like stars. But here no one looks after the players, before and after the match no one cares who you are.

"If they don't want to lose the Crucible invest some money, make it shinier, make it nicer, make it more luxury for the people. If they make it cleaner and nicer, people will enjoy it."

The World Snooker Tour responded by saying "the Crucible is a historic venue and there are limitations given the size of the backstage areas".

They added in a statement: "We work with the Crucible to make it as welcoming as possible for players."