The governing body of World Snooker says it is a ‘natural process of evolution’ for the Welsh Open Snooker Championships to move away from Newport from next year.
The Newport Centre hosts the tournament for the last time when first round fixtures begin tomorrow, as organisers look to find a venue in the Cardiff for the tournament in 2015.
The Welsh Open regularly attracts the top players in the sport’s world rankings, and has been held in Newport since 2005.
But World Snooker’s Ivan Herschowitz says as the tournament grows in prestige and value for the world’s top players, it requires a more fitting venue in Wales’ biggest city.
“It’s definitely considered one of the big events on the snooker calendar,” Mr Herschovitz told CJS News
“Newport’s been a great venue for snooker. We get tremendous support here and it’s been an excellent venue.
“But ultimately, as in any sport, events evolve, formats change and so we are looking potentially to move the event away next season to Cardiff and we are looking at venues at the moment.
“I think it’s just a natural process of evolution in any sport.
“We’re only moving a few miles down the road to Cardiff. The whole of South Wales is a hotbed for snooker, with great players down the years from Terry Griffths and Ray Reardon to Mark Williams, Matthew Stevens and new players coming through.
“Over the years South Wales has been a tremendous place for us to come and host world ranking events, and hopefully it will be for many years to come.”
On the tables, fans are sure to be excited by Ronnie O’Sullivan’s return to South Wales after a year absent from the snooker tour in 2012/13.
A Welsh player hasn’t won the Open since Mark Williams’ success back in 1999, and fans looking for homegrown success in the tournament will look to the 38-year-old former champion along with Matthew Stevens for local success.
It’s a prosperous period for Welsh snooker though, with ten players in the 128-man first round draw, including exciting young prospects Michael White, Jamie Jones and 19-year-old amateur Duane Jones.
“With the new format of 128 players in the first round, I think at least one of them will have a good run in the tournament this year,” said Ivan Herschovitz.
Tickets for the event are still on sale, with prices for the first four days of first round matches as low as five pounds.
“To be able to come to the Newport Centre to watch a full day of snooker with some of the best players in the world for less than ten quid is incredible really.
“It’s a great opportunity to see some of the world’s best players in action.”