Following government advice, the World Snooker Tour (WST) has announced that the Betfred World Snooker Championship has been rescheduled to July 31 – August 16, 2020 at the Crucible Theatre.
The competition date was decided following discussions with its key stakeholders which include Sheffield City Council, the BBC, Eurosport and Sheffield Theatres to ensure that along with the tournament being safe, it also holds value to its broadcasters.
WST Chairman Barry Hearn stated: “We are delighted to confirm new dates for this huge global sporting event which has an international television audience of 500m 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.”
The WST has also revealed that its preference is to stage the event with a full crowd however the decision depends on COVID-19’s impact in the UK by the end of July. Other options that are being considered include playing the event with a reduced crowd or playing the event behind closed doors.
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, added: “The World Snooker Championship is one of Sheffield’s annual highlights, something the city looks forward to and is immensely proud of. Although it is disappointing that so many of our events have been cancelled or postponed it is also essential while we meet the current challenges.
“I’m pleased that the Championship has been rescheduled and I really hope that it can be celebrated at the Crucible Theatre in true Sheffield style, when it is safe to do so. We will continue to work with WST and support all decisions taken, to help them deliver the competition whilst keeping everyone safe.”
Whilst a date has been scheduled, due to the unpredictability of the virus WSL has emphasised that there is a possibility that the event may need to be rescheduled further. Nevertheless, WSL has assured that the organisers will remain in contact with the government and follow its advice leading up to the proposed date.