Snooker Championship League: First Professional Sport to Return in UK from 1st June
Snooker will become the first professional sport to return in Britain with an 11-day free-to-air televised tournament to begin on June 1.
Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen, and Kyren Wilson are among those confirmed to participate in Championship League Snooker, which will see 64 of the world’s best players battle for the highest award of £30,000 at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
All players, staff, and contractors must return a negative coronavirus test before entering the venue, which has been selected because there is the accommodation on site.
Players and referees will be told to keep two meters apart, while they must use hand sanitizer before games and refrain from shaking hands during the tournament, which will be shown on ITV4.
“Players who have any doubts about their welfare can rest assured that all precautions are being taken,” said Barry Hearn, World Snooker Tour chairman.
“I am positive that there is no other major sport which can meet health and protection criteria on isolation and social distancing as stringently as snooker can, so we can return more swiftly than others.”
ITV’s snooker coverage will be coordinated remotely, with presenter Jill Douglas and other on-screen pundits operating from their homes. At the same time, commentators David Hendon, Phil Yates, and Dominic Dale will cover the event from the venue.
Horse racing also plans on resuming action with a meeting behind closed doors at Newcastle on June 1, which starts a few hours after Championship League Snooker begins.
“During the challenging circumstances of the past few weeks, we have considered the possibilities which still exist and pulled relentlessly towards our tour’s goal,” said Hearn. “While most other games remain sidelined, we are eager to return from June 1. This gives out a word to the sporting world that snooker is at the lead of modernization.
“We will be the first major sport to get back to live televised action. That’s not by luck; it’s because of the hard work and preparation we did throughout the lockdown.
“The World Snooker Championship has been postponed to run from July 31 to August 16 at its natural home in Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.