World Snooker Championship 2020: Fans to be allowed in for final


Crucible Theatre
Fans were allowed to attend on the opening day of the World Championship but barred thereafter
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 31 July-16 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four and Red Button, with uninterrupted coverage on BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app. Full details and times.

Fans will be allowed into the Crucible Theatre this weekend for the final of the World Snooker Championship.

That means the Crucible will welcome around 300 fans for the final two days.

If the pilots are a success the government says it could lead to other sports venues being opened to socially-distanced fans from 1 October.

More pilot events are due to be announced in the coming days, involving indoor and outdoor sports.

“We are delighted to announce that a reduced crowd will be welcomed to all sessions of the final of the World Championship on Saturday and Sunday,” World Snooker saidexternal-link.

“The piloting of a small number of sporting events to test the safe return of spectators will resume from 15 August with a view to reopening competition venues for sports fans, with social distancing measures in place from 1 October,” the government said in a statement.

“This will commence with the final of the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre during 15-16 August, with a full pilot programme to follow.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden added: “We can now make further careful progress on recovery with allowing audiences back for indoor performances, fans back at sports events and the reopening of more Covid-19 secure leisure businesses.”

The World Snooker Championship became the first indoor live sports event in England to have crowds since lockdown, allowing some supporters in for the three sessions on 31 July.

However, no more fans have been allowed to watch live sport since 1 August because of a spike in cases that led to all pilots being called off, including Glorious Goodwood and county cricket at The Oval and Edgbaston.

Five-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan previously criticised the decision to allow fans into the arena, saying it created an “unnecessary risk”, while qualifier Anthony Hamilton, who suffers from severe asthma, withdrew on the eve of the tournament.

It has not yet been confirmed how many fans will be permitted to attend on Saturday and Sunday, but seating plans had been devised that would enable audience members only to sit directly next to people who they purchased tickets with and were members of the same household groups.

Such arrangements would enable a metre of space between people from separate bubbles.

The code of conduct for fans instructed them they had to wear a mask while walking around the Crucible, but could remove it while watching the action, and the bars would not be open.

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