ENGLISH Open champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has fiercely criticised the venue of this year’s competition, claiming that the smell of urine is preventing him from concentrating during matches.

Speaking after defeating Kurt Maflin 4-1 at the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley, O’Sullivan accused the event organisers of cutting corners.

He said: “”I don’t know what this gaff is but I’ve just done an interview and all I can smell is urine.

“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.”

The 42-year-old was speaking after defeating world number 50 Maflin on Monday in his opening match of the competition.

O’Sullivan is the current holder of the English Open title after defeating Kyren Wilson in Barnsley in 2017.

O’Sullivan’s criticisms of the leisure centre, which has never hosted a top-level snooker tournament before, also covered the atmosphere and the safety of the playing venue.

He said: “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.”

However, he claimed that the lack of atmosphere was not due to problems with the crowd, but instead laid the blame at the foot of event organisers.

He said: “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.”

World Snooker and Freedom Leisure, who run the K2 centre, have been contacted for comment.