Following today’s announcement from the UK Government that the easing of certain restrictions in England has been postponed, there will be no access for fans to the Betfred World Championship from Saturday August 1.
Fans at the Crucible for the rest of today (Friday) will be able to watch the action live, but from tomorrow the event will be played behind closed doors. WST remains hopeful that a small crowd will be allowed for the final on August 15 and 16, and will follow Government advice on this.
The Betfred World Championship had been selected by the Government as one of the small number of pilot events for safe the return of spectators to live sport, and it was the only indoor event.
However today’s announcement included restriction on crowd access at all of these pilot sporting events.
Fans who had tickets for the Crucible will be offered the chance to transfer them to the 2021 event, or will be offered a full refund.
WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We realise this will be a huge disappointment for fans who were excited to witness the magic of the Crucible over the next fortnight, and we feel the same ourselves.
“At every stage of this process we have been following Government guidelines and working with them on the correct procedures. We have had very positive feedback from the Government, they have been impressed by the measures we have implemented. Safety has always been our number one priority and we have met every aspect of the Government guidelines in this regard.
“Above all it’s a great shame for people who had those golden tickets, but in the circumstances we are now living in we have to accept the decision and move on.
“Snooker has led the way in terms of the return of live sport, in recent weeks we have been the first to stage live televised events and now live events with a small crowd. In the months to come we will continue to find innovative ways to bring sport back safely and entertain our many millions of fans around the globe.”
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson added: “I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to deliver this event, including both the teams at WST and the WPBSA, as well as the players referees and officials who have supported the tournament. We will nevertheless enjoy the two weeks of world class snooker ahead of us and I wish each of the players competing every success.”
Fans who have tickets will be contacted soon by the tickets providers to explain how to transfer to next year or receive a refund.