Williams: Crucible is a 's*** hole'

Former winner Mark Williams has caused a storm on the eve of the World Snooker Championship by describing Sheffield's Crucible Theatre as a "s*** hole" saying he would prefer to see the tournament moved to China.


The Welshman tweeted: "WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS just around the corner. Shame it's played in the Crucible, s*** hole, hopefully it will be in China soon."

Williams also said he would "rather play in Pontins" and that the Crucible was "over hyped" although he did say he had no problem with Sheffield which he called a "nice place."

Despite saying "It's only my opinion….so don't send me any letters or fines," Williams - winner of the World Championship in 2000 and 2003 at the Crucible - admitted he had caused a stir.

"Wow I'm in trouble for my last tweet about the Crucible, people from the paper and world snooker been on the phone," he tweeted just over an hour after his original tweet.

"Not sure if it's cause I nearly swore, or said I hate playing at the Crucible, or want the world champs to go to china."

Williams - who plays his opening match against Liu Chuang on Wednesday - later admitted that he went a little too far with his remarks, but said his opinion had not changed.

"I shouldn't have called it that," he told one user. "I was wrong to call it that, but if I win it, I'll say the same, I hate playing there."

The Crucible has hosted the World Championship since 1977 and will host the world's best players for the next 17 days.

The comments prompted World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn - manager of Steve Davis when the Englishman won it six times in the 1980s - to defend the venue.

"It's an outstanding venue and the refurbishment which recently took place has greatly improved the facilities," said Hearn.

"There's is so much history associated with the Crucible, it is synonymous with snooker and the World Championship. There's something unique and magical about the atmosphere in the arena which couldn't be replicated anywhere else. The vast majority of people involved in snooker would say the same.

"Anyone who was in the arena for the final last year when the players were introduced will tell you that it was one of the best atmospheres ever witnessed at a sporting event.

"We look forward to a wonderful Betfred.com World Championship starting tomorrow and to great years ahead in Sheffield, the Snooker City."

Williams is not the first snooker player to cause controversy by using Twitter. Northern Irishman Mark Allen was scathing in his criticism of the conditions at China's Haikou World Open in March before apologising. Ironically, Allen won the event.

Allen tweeted: "Dead cat found this morning. Any wonder this place stinks. Must be dead cats all round the town. This place is horrendous. It just baffles me how world snooker continuously go out of their way to put tournaments on in the middle of nowhere. Journey a nightmare. People are ignorant. Place stinks. Arena's rubbish, tables poor, food is horrendous. Other than that I love China."

John Higgins begins his defence of the World Championship against Liang Wenbo on Saturday morning. Follow LIVE coverage of all 17 days on British Eurosport, British Eurosport 2 & Eurosport HD.

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