Next week’s European Masters will be a dream come true for Romania’s top referee Alex Crisan as a world ranking event takes place in his home city for the first time.
Tickets for the European Masters in Bucharest are on sale now, for details click here
Alex has been a referee for ten years and has worked for World Snooker since 2011, but the highlight of his career so far will come when he officiates at the first ever professional tournament in Romania. The tournament will run from October 3rd to 9th at the Circul Globus with many of snooker’s top stars competing for the trophy.
We caught up with Alex to look ahead to next week’s landmark event.
Alex, how excited are you about professional snooker coming to Romania for the first time?
Well, looking back in 2011 when I first started refereeing for World Snooker, I was so excited and to see all the great players around the venue and to have the chance to ref some of them. I still can’t believe it will be happening in Romania! It’s a major event and I see it as THE biggest sporting event of the year back home. Most of the Romanians watching snooker on Eurosport don’t know the feeling of being there, in the venue, watching the action live. They have the best chance now to experience the excitement of others just like them. They are passionate about the sport I love and now they can see top class players, great breaks and safety shots, emotions, pressure, joy…all LIVE, just a few metres in front of them.
Could you have imagined a world ranking event taking place in Romania when you first became interested in snooker?
I was always hoping that it will happen one day, although when I first started I was more focused on becoming a better referee and to learn as much as I could from every tournament I attended. I still can’t believe it’s happening and it’s only a matter of days before the start. There have been successful exhibitions with Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stuart Bingham, Mark Selby and others in Romania so a ranking event was the next step.
Do you get a sense the snooker fans in Romania are passionate about the sport and they are really looking forward to this event?
Judging by the fact that for the first day of the exhibition with Ronnie and Stuart almost 1,800 tickets were sold out in less than two hours and that there are hundreds of thousands of viewers of snooker in Romania, I have to admit that I have high expectations of seeing good crowds every day and maybe a full venue starting from Friday. The snooker fans should be there to show these top players that #RomaniaLovesSnooker. It’s the best chance they have to see live performance.
Have you been to the Circul Globus venue? What is it like?
I went there a couple of times when I was young to see the Circus but I guess I was too young to remember much. I’ve rediscovered the beauty of this venue with the latest snooker exhibitions and I see it as a perfect venue for a one-table set-up, with space for almost 2000 spectators. For me, it’s similar to the Tempodrom in Berlin.
What can you tell us about Bucharest? What should we visit while we are there?
I was born in Bucharest and this is also my home town. There are so many things to see that I can write an essay, it will not be easy to pick a few, but I will try. Bucharest is a city full of history, full of life, day and night. I would recommend visitors go to the largest park, Herastrau, for a walk around the lake and stop by at the Village Museum where they can see an authentic Romanian village, rich in monuments and constructions which are hundreds of years old. Also, nearby, they will find the Arch of Triumph, one of the reasons why Bucharest is called ‘Little Paris’. They should not miss the House of Parliament, also known as the House of People as this is the second largest administrative building in the world. And they can finish in the old city centre for a combination of historic buildings, pubs, clubs, restaurants, music and fun all night long!