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Marco Fu withdraws from the 2020 World Snooker Championship

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Peter Ebdon announces his retirement from professional snooker

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Fu opts out of heading to the qualifiers (Photo by Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive/PA Images)

Marco Fu has withdrawn from the 2020 World Snooker Championship due to safety concerns over travelling to the UK.

Hong Kong ace Fu has ruled himself out of this year’s Sheffield show-piece amid fears over the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fu, a two-time World Championship semi-finalist, has dropped to 50th in the world rankings and would have needed to enter the qualifying rounds in order to vie for a coveted Crucible spot.

The qualifying rounds are due to take place at the nearby English Institute of Sport in Sheffield from July 21-28.

They will be subject to Covid-19 testing, sanitisation and social distancing measures, as seen in the recent Championship League.

WST and the WPBSA are working closely with the UK Government to assist players travelling from outside the UK with regard to visas, quarantine and travel issues.

Fu, however, revealed he will not be making the trip back to the UK, tweeting: “Feeling unsafe to travel to the UK at this moment, so sadly I’ve decided to pull out of this year’s World Championship.”

Fu has endured a difficult spell both on and off the table in recent years, undergoing eye surgery in December 2017 to treat retinal degeneration and floaters in his dominant left eye.

He subsequently missed a signification portion of the 2017/18 season and consequently tumbled down the rankings, having reached just two ranking event Quarter-Finals since.

China’s Ding Junhui has withdrawn from next week’s Tour Championship in Milton Keynes and it remains to be seen whether more overseas players will pull out of next month’s qualifiers.

A total of 128 players will battle it out for 16 coveted places alongside the world’s top 16 in the main event – which is scheduled to take place from July 31 to August 16.

The qualifying rounds are open to all tour professionals ranked outside of the world’s top 16, as well as a minimum of 16 WPBSA invited players.