• UK Championship

UK Championship may move from York's Barbican Centre

ESPN staff
December 2, 2013
There have been questions as to whether or not the Barbican Centre can host a 128-man event © PA Photos

The UK Championship could move from its current home at the Barbican Centre in York following a host of complaints from players taking part in this year's tournament.

The first-round of the event has been expanded to 128 players, meaning four tables run side-by-side in the main arena with four more in the ancillary sports hall venue.

Practice facilities have also been in short supply, while Ronnie O'Sullivan revealed he changed for his first-round match in a hotel toilet. Mark King was vocal of the layout after his second-round defeat to Fergal O'Brien, and Judd Trump called the main hall "a circus".

And with the existing contract to stage the tournament in York in its final year, there are rumours gathering pace that it may not be renewed.

Speaking to BT Sport, the chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association and World Snooker board member, Jason Ferguson, said: "It's a strong rumour but we certainly haven't made that decision yet.

"There's nothing wrong with the venue, we're happy here and happy doing snooker in York.

"It's just the logistical issues with the tournament expanding to 128 players, and it's a question of what facilities we're able to provide for those players.

"In three and a half years we've gone from six events up to 30 so that brings with it logistical complaints, which we've seen this week from some of the players.

"Some of that is genuine, we'd hold our hands up that we've not got everything right. It's not impossible that it would stay, but we've not made the decision."

Coventry's Ricoh Arena, which staged the Champion of Champions event earlier this month, has been mentioned as a possible new home for the UK Championship.

"We've just had the Champion of Champions there which was a great tournament and the Ricoh Arena is a great venue," Ferguson added. "It is one that we could work with and it could house the number of tables that we need."

World Snooker is keen not to sever ties all ties with the Barbican Centre, with a straight swap being mooted - taking the UK Championship to Coventry and the Champion of Champions to York.

"That would certainly be a possibility," Ferguson said. "I wouldn't rule out something like that happening. We love the venue, we've been here many years. We've always got good crowds, we love the Barbican Centre and we love the city."

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