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Telford loses UK Snooker Championship

Telford | News | Published:

One of the biggest events on the national sporting calendar was today axed from Shropshire. One of the biggest events on the national sporting calendar was today axed from Shropshire. The UK Snooker Championship has been held at Telford's International Centre for the last four years, attracting thousands of spectators from the county and beyond. But World Snooker, which is the sport's governing body, has confirmed that the prestigious event - which carries prize money of £625,000 - will be returning to York's Barbican Centre from this year.

One of the biggest events on the national sporting calendar was today axed from Shropshire.

The UK Snooker Championship has been held at Telford's International Centre for the last four years, attracting thousands of spectators from the county and beyond.

But World Snooker, which is the sport's governing body, has confirmed that the prestigious event - which carries prize money of £625,000 - will be returning to York's Barbican Centre from this year.

"The decision is in no way a bad reflection on Telford," said World Snooker spokesman Ivan Hirchowitz.

"We have had four good years there, we have been pleased with the venues and the crowds and the players have enjoyed coming to Telford.

"But the only reason we left York in the first place was because of an issue with Barbican Centre about re-development and that has been resolved. We felt it was right to go back there."

The UK Championship, the second biggest event on the snooker calendar, was first held in Shropshire in December 2007.

Amongst the winners of the event while it has been staged in Telford have been former world champions John Higgins and Ronnie O'Sullivan, and Chinese star Ding Junhui. But, despite today's news, there remains hope that Telford could host a major event in the future.

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Mr Hirchowitz added: "The sport is growing all of the time and there are more and more tournaments all the while.

"Telford is still certainly on the list as a potential venue for future events."

Sports promoter Barry Hearn, who has been heavily involved in snooker during his career, including managing six-time world champion Steve Davis, is working to revitalise the game in his role as director of World Snooker Limited.

Mayor of Telford & Wrekin Ian Fletcher said: "It's very disappointing. We went to the competition last year and it was a really good event and the facilities were marvellous. I'm surprised they have lost the contract. I hope they can get something in to replace it.

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"I should think they will, especially with the work to expand the facilities there."

The Southwater Event Group, which runs Telford's International Centre, was unavailable for comment.

By James Garrison and Paul Mannion

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