Organisers and TV agree new dates for World Snooker Championship
The World Snooker Championship has been rescheduled for later this year, with the organisers still hopeful the event can be held in front of spectators.
The sport’s showpiece event was due to take place at its traditional home of the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield in the UK on 18 April to 4 May only to be postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in the suspension of all professional tournaments.
World Snooker Tour today announced new dates for the World Championship of 31 July to 16 August, which have been agreed in collaboration with the host venue and major broadcasters, namely the UK’s BBC and Eurosport, the pan-European network.
Revised dates for the qualifying rounds have still to be confirmed.
The preference is for this summer's Betfred World Snooker Championship to take place in front of full crowds at the Crucible, which has a capacity of 1,000 but if that is not possible then, based on UK government advice, WST will consider playing the event with a reduced attendance or behind closed doors or postponing it to a later date again.
WST chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are delighted to confirm new dates for this huge global sporting event which has an international television audience of 500 million people. The world is going through a very challenging period but live sport can be a massive inspiration for the public and can boost morale. This gives fans of top class sport something on their calendar to look ahead to and enjoy for 17 days.
“It is crucial for our 128 tour players to know that we are doing everything we can to get our circuit going again as soon as it is considered safe to do so by the government. The players are self-employed and they need opportunities to earn, while we keep the health and safety of everyone involved in an event of this scale as a priority.
“In recent weeks we have had intricate negotiations with our key broadcasters including the BBC and Eurosport as well as the Crucible itself and Sheffield City Council. I would like to express my gratitude to all of them as we have progressed to a solution.
“Our sincere hope is that we are able to play the tournament with a full crowd as usual. This event means so much to the fans who have a golden ticket for the Crucible experience, and to the people of Sheffield. The players will desperately want to compete in the atmosphere that only a packed Crucible can generate. However if that is not possible then we will give careful consideration to each scenario.”
Meanwhile, the Rokit World Seniors Snooker Championship, which also takes place at the Crucible, has been postponed by a week to 19 to 22 August.