Mark Allen takes aim at snooker chiefs at Tour Championship amid 'amazing' Ronnie O'Sullivan praise

Mark Allen takes aim at snooker chiefs at Tour Championship amid 'amazing' Ronnie O'Sullivan praise

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Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 06/04/2024

- 13:49

The Northern Irish star is not pleased with the change of format in Manchester

Ronnie O'Sullivan has been pleased with the format of the Tour Championship in Manchester this week but not every player feels the same.

Mark Allen has hit out at snooker authorities for increasing the number of players at the tournament this week.

The Tour Championship has been running since 2019 and has traditionally featured the eight highest-ranked players on the one-year ranking list.

However, it was decided this year that it would be increased to twelve, meaning there were four first-round matches before the quarter-finals began.

Mark Allen

Mark Allen says snooker chiefs have 'spoiled' the Tour Championship format


Allen's position on the list meant he had to play in the first round against John Higgins, beating him 10-7.

He has since beaten Ding Junhui to set up a semi-final against Mark Williams on Saturday.

But Allen was not pleased by the new format, insisting it has 'spoiled' the event that he usually looks forward to.

The Northern Irishman said: "They shouldn't have changed it from eight.

"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."

O'Sullivan awaits the winner of Allen's match with Williams having beaten Gary Wilson in his semi-final.

The Rocket appeared to have no problems with the new format when he was asked about it this week.

He told ITV: "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."


Mark Allen

Mark Allen says the tournament shouldn't have been increased from eight to 12 players


The tournament is taking place at Manchester Central for the first time this year.

O'Sullivan has often been critical of venues, especially Alexandra Palace which hosted the Masters in January.

But the 48-year-old clearly approves of where this week's event is being held.

He told WST: "This is an amazing venue. Backstage it's great, the playing arena's great.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan is through to the final of the Tour Championship


"We're in the middle of Manchester so in your downtime you can find things to do.

"It's just a good place to be. Although I've been a bit harsh on venues I think I've been right to be harsh on them as well. But this is a fantastic venue and great crowds."

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