Published On: Mon, Apr 8th, 2024

Mark Allen disagrees with Ronnie O’Sullivan and claims Tour Championship was ‘spoiled’ | Other | Sport

Mark Allen has hit out at snooker bosses for increasing the number of players at the Tour Championship following his semi-final exit at the hands of eventual winner Mark Williams. The latter secured the £150,000 top prize by coming from behind to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final on Sunday.

The Tour Championship has traditionally featured the eight highest-ranked players on the one-year ranking list but that number was increased to 12 for this year. Allen was not best pleased with the new format, insisting that it ‘spoiled’ his enjoyment of the event.

“They shouldn’t have changed it from eight,” said Allen following his victory over Ding Jinhui in the quarter-finals. “You work your way down from 32 to 16. They should have kept it at eight with a one-table set-up from the first round.

“That’s the way it should have been. I was only going to say that if I won the match because it would obviously have sounded like sour grapes. They spoiled a really good event and one we all look forward to.”

Allen’s dim view of the new format was not shared by O’Sullivan, who seemed to have no issue with the increased number of players competing in Manchester.

Quizzed on the changes by ITV, O’Sullivan said: “I just think with the 32-man [or less] format it sort of allows the tournament to be good in all areas. You can get a good venue, the practice facilities are right. It just feels right. 128 just feels a bit too much and hard to get into it.

“So, I think an event like this, I just feel a bit more ready to go from the start. I love these tournaments, I really do.”

O’Sullivan also spoke highly about the quality of the venue, with the Tour Championship taking place at Manchester Central for the very first time. It has since been confirmed that it will return to the city in 2025 with tickets going on sale on Monday.

After his 10-5 defeat to Williams in the final, O’Sullivan said that he wanted the tournament to be held in Manchester again after being left impressed by the support from the crowd as well as the facilities.

On the fans, he joked: “They’ve been terrible this week, haven’t they! No, I tell you what, London’s very vocal but this is close. They really get behind the players. They really support this tournament unbelievably well.

“Hopefully it’s here to stay. It’s a great venue, great place, I love coming here, so hopefully it stays here and we’ll come back here for many more years to come.”

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