World Snooker Championship: Hossein Vafaei says Crucible Theatre 'smells'

An iconic snooker venue is "smelly" and "like playing in a garage", according to one star of the sport.

Hossein Vafaei criticised the conditions at the Crucible after he crashed out of the World Snooker Championship.

The 29-year-old suffered a 10-5 defeat to former champion Judd Trump at the Sheffield venue.

The Iranian had strong words regarding the facilities and treatment of the players at the 17-day event.

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

"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."

Vafaei is no stranger to Crucible controversy after last year surprising onlookers by playing a rash first shot at the start of a match against Ronnie O'Sullivan, and was seen grinning afterwards.

The Crucible has staged the tournament since 1977, but its current deal expires in 2027.

Speculation over its future was heightened when O'Sullivan previously suggested the sport's world championships should be moved to Saudi Arabia or China then.

Vafaei, who made his debut in 2022, added: "Look at the China venues, how fantastic they treat the players, a red carpet and an opening ceremony.

"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."

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In response, World Snooker Tour defended the Crucible as a "historic venue".

They added: "There are limitations given the size of the backstage areas. We work with the Crucible to make it as welcoming as possible for players."