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Ronnie O’Sullivan threatens to withdraw from the World Snooker Championship

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World Snooker Championship to feature reduced capacity crowd at The Crucible

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Field of players confirmed for 2020 World Snooker Championship following qualifying rounds

O'Sullivan last missed The Masters in 2013 (credit:John Walton/PA Images)

O’Sullivan has opted out of a return to Leicester (John Walton/PA Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan has threatened to pull out of the 2020 World Snooker Championship following the news that fans will be welcomed into The Crucible.

The UK government announced on Friday that the World Snooker Championship is one of three sporting events being piloted to welcome back spectators prior to a wider relaxation of measures from October 1.

The tournament, which takes place from July 31 to August 16, will welcome a limited number of fans across the 17 days, with the usual 980 capacity to be reduced by at least 50 per cent.

Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan, however, is skeptical of fans returning and admits he is re-thinking his involvement in the World Championship as a result.

“If they start bringing in crowds in, even if it is only a couple of hundred, I wouldn’t feel good about that,” said O’Sullivan.

“And I think to the point where it would even affect my willingness to participate.

“I don’t think there should be any crowds in an indoor area until at least 2021 and, to me, it seems insane that we are even talking about it.

“I just think it is obvious that is something we have to do in certain situations, to protect other people and lessen the risk.”

O’Sullivan featured in last month’s Championship League – which was held behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.

WST recently invited existing Crucible ticket holders to register their further interest in attending, with a ballot now set to be conducted to determined which fans can enter the iconic venue.

Fans will be required to adhere to strict social distancing measures, though it is not yet clear if or how the arena will be modified.