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World Snooker Championship to feature reduced capacity crowd at The Crucible

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

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The one-table setup at The Crucible (Photo by Dave Howarth/PA)

The 2020 World Snooker Championship will house a reduced capacity crowd at The Crucible as one of the first sports to welcome back spectators in the UK.

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

The World Championship, 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.

Earlier this month, WST invited existing 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.

UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “For months millions of us have felt the void of being unable to go to the match to support our team or attend a top-class sporting event.

“So I am pleased that we are now able to move forward with a plan to help venues safely reopen their doors to fans.

“I recognise that not every sport, team or club has the benefit of huge commercial revenue, and it is often their dedicated fans that are the lifeblood which helps keep them going.

“By working closely with sports and medical experts, these pilots will help ensure the safe return of fans to stadia.

“Although it will remain some time before venues are full to capacity, this is a major step in the right direction for the resumption of live spectator sport across the country.”

Measures that are required to be in place include:

  • Additional hygiene facilities, such as hand washing and sanitiser stations, particularly at entry and exit points to the competition venue and in seating/standing areas.
  • Screens or barriers to separate people from each other when social distancing cannot be maintained for catering and retail, such as buying programmes and merchandise, or betting.
  • Signage and floor markings both inside and outside competition venues to enforce social distancing, seating plans, one-way systems and queuing requirements.
  • Spectators must be supported to avoid public transport, including through parking facilities, bike and walking routes. However a transport management plan with local and national providers should be in place to increase service frequency, where needed.