World Snooker have announced that the UK Championship will return to York Barbican this December.


It's one of the biggest ranking events on the snooker calendar - second only to the World Championship. The tournament runs from December 3 to 11 and will receive extensive coverage from the BBC, Eurosport and CCTV in China, beaming live action to an audience of hundreds of millions worldwide.


The UK Championship was previously staged at the Barbican Centre from 2001 to 2006. It's likely to feature all of the world's top players including John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy and Ding Junhui.


World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: 'We're thrilled and excited to be heading back to the Barbican Centre in York for the UK Championship in December 2011. The top players had six happy years there and they all talk about the superb set-up of the arena and the excellent backstage facilities at the venue. The fans in York always generated a cracking atmosphere and no doubt they can't wait for another chance to see the very best in the world in action. We're looking forward to working with our partners in York and making it the home of the UK Championship once again.'


China's Ding Junhui, who beat Steve Davis in the 2005 UK Championship final in York, added: 'I'm really pleased that we are going back to York for the UK Championship. It's one of our biggest tournaments and winning it in 2005 was one of the best moments of my career. I've got great memories of playing at the Barbican Centre as the atmosphere is special. While we played there I made a lot of friends in York, especially among the Chinese community, so I'm looking forward to meeting them again and hopefully having their support in the tournament.'


Gillian Cruddas Chief Executive of Visit York said:
'This is a real coup for York and we are absolutely thrilled the tournament will be returning to the fabulous new Barbican Centre. Sports tourism is an area we are keen to develop in York and this now gives us the opportunity to do just that. The tournament will generate a boost for the city's hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions who will benefit enormously from the media attention and increased visitor numbers that the tournament brings.'


Nick Reed, Theatres Director for SMG Europe commented:
'Since being awarded the contract to operate the building last year SMG has been working behind the scenes to try and re-instate this amazing event at the Barbican. We have developed a great relationship with World Snooker Limited and we are delighted to be working with them to bring the UK Championship home to York.'