Crawley people have come to the defence of the K2 leisure centre after snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan called it a ‘hellhole’.
The leisure centre is being used for for this year’s English Open.
O’Sullivan told the BBC: “It’s such a bad venue, it demotivates you to want to play.
“This is about as bad as I’ve ever seen. It’s a bit of a hellhole.”
He added: “I don’t know what this gaff is but I’ve just done an interview and all I can smell is urine.
“It’s just got no atmosphere in there. I’m practising and I’ve got wires all around the table. There’s no security, you’ve got people running at you left, right and centre.
“It’s not the fans’ fault. They [World Snooker] obviously haven’t got the budget to run it properly.
“I don’t know where their budget is but they’re cutting corners. I think they should invest in good venues. Players deserve better.”
People came to the leisure centre’s defence on our Facebook page.
Valerie Ashdown: “Try going back to playing in small snooker halls instead then Ronnie O’Sullivan.”
Responding to O’Sullivan’s claim that he could smell urine, Nathan Layzell said: “Its probably the smell of chlorine from the pools.”
BBC Breakfast TV host Dan Walker, who grew up in Crawley, wrote on Twitter: “Welcome to Crawley Ronnie #HomeTown #NotEverythingSmellsOfUrine.”
John Gunn added: “I’ve swam at the K2 on a few occasions, never had a problem, changing rooms and poolside area have been spotless.”
Jafar Nazir said: “I was there to watch, perfectly fine to me, I think he’s just having a dig at WorldSnooker.”
However, Chris Holland asked: “What is snooker doing in a sports centre anyway?”
And Laura Elise added: “Sorry, but a lot of the regular K2 users don’t want the snooker here anyway. Cancelled clubs people pay money for, blocked car park yet again and general disruption.
It’s a leisure centre not a world class arena. The only people benefiting from this from what I can see is K2 management company, can’t see any local community benefit at all - but that’s just my opinion.”
A K2 Crawley spokesman said : “We are sorry and disappointed to hear that Ronnie has voiced some concerns over the venue, especially after feedback from everybody else has been so positive.
“We have been working closely with World Snooker to make this competition the best it can be and they are extremely happy with how the first day has gone, and in fact, we hear that ticket sales have already surpassed total numbers sold for all previous English Open venues.”
A spokesman from World Snooker added: “We are surprised to hear these comments from Ronnie given that he has made no formal complaint and the feedback from the other players has been overwhelmingly positive.
“And the partners we are working with on the event agree with our view that K2 Crawley is an excellent venue with very good facilities.
“There was a fantastic crowd in the arena today and the ticket sales for the event have already surpassed the total sales for 2016 and 2017.
“We look forward to seeing Ronnie play in the next round.”