FOR the first time since 2004 the Snooker’s BetVictor Welsh Open world ranking event will be held in Cardiff. Next year’s 2015 competition will take place at the Motorpoint Arena in the centre of Cardiff from February 16 to 22.

The tournament, which has been staged in Newport in recent years, is the BBC Wales televised event with 128 players starting in the same round hoping to take the top prize of £60,000.

This year’s final saw Ronnie O’Sullivan win against Din Junhui 9-3, making an incredible 147 maximum break in the last frame. Other winners of the Welsh Open include Stephen Maguire, Ding, John Higgins, Ali Carter, Mark Selby and Neil Roberston.

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “The BetVictor Welsh Open has grown dramatically in recent years with increased prize money, growing live attendances and a new structure. While we are grateful to the people of Newport for their support, it is time to move the event down the M4 to the capital city to allow it to continue to build momentum.

“The Motorpoint Arena is a top class venue and a fitting stage for the world’s very best snooker players. This is a tournament with such a rich history, ever present on our calendar as a world ranking event for over 20 years. I have no doubt that the people of South Wales will be out in force to make the 2015 Welsh Open a truly spectacular week of snooker.”

Two-time World Champion Mark Williams, from Cwm, added: “It’s fantastic news for snooker fans in Cardiff. I remember when the Welsh Open was first held in Cardiff in 1999 and I beat Stephen Hendry 9-8 in the final, it remains one of my best moments.

“I always enjoyed playing Newport but hopefully Cardiff will be even better. The Motorpoint Arena is an excellent venue and I’m sure it will be packed out.”

Tickets are on sale now and are available from the box office on 02920 224488.