Snooker continues in face of coronavirus chaos in world sport

Snooker continues in face of coronavirus chaos in world sport
By Eurosport

13/03/2020 at 20:10Updated 14/03/2020 at 05:29

Snooker intends to complete its season despite the coronavirus outbreak bringing the world sports calendar to a shuddering and unprecedented halt.

On a black Friday when the Premier League, the Scottish Premiership and Six Nations rugby match between Wales and Scotland were all called off, and the London Marathon and US Masters golf tournament were postponed due to the global pandemic, snooker’s Gibraltar Open was being played.

Only 100 fans are allowed to watch the matches at the Europa Point Sports Complex with world champion Judd Trump in action on Saturday.

Neil Robertson, Ali Carter, Stephen Maguire, David Gilbert, Jimmy White and Graeme Dott were among the players who decided to avoid travelling to the event.

The game’s organisers do not plan to deviate from a schedule that sees the eight-man Tour Championship played in Llandudno next week with the World Championship due to begin in April 18 in Sheffield.

“As it stands, our intention is that our upcoming events will go ahead as planned," said World Snooker Tour in a statement.

"This includes next week’s Tour Championship in Llandudno, and the World Championship in Sheffield. However we must consider all scenarios and we will follow government advice. The health and safety of our fans, players and staff is of course our priority."

Why has snooker survived the coronavirus cull?

It is business as usual unless the UK government advise changes - which it certainly could in such a grim, fast-moving health crisis. World Snooker Tour have not ruled out playing the remaining events behind closed doors if it is deemed a public health risk to admit spectators to the venue.

The Gibraltar Open was restricted to only 100 fans in a clear indication of the direction of travel enveloping the sport. The gravity of the situation could also force the World Championship to be played behind closed doors or even postponed and moved to later in the calendar with the game's organisers conceding they will "consider all scenarios".

It is difficult to envisage the World Championship going ahead next month with a full house of just under 1,000 fans at the Crucible Theatre.

World rankings one-year list (after Players Championship)

  • 1 Judd Trump 656,500
  • 2 Shaun Murphy 383,000
  • 3 Mark Selby 282,500
  • 4 Neil Robertson 274,500
  • 5 Ding Junhui 261,250
  • 6 Yan Bingtao 206,500
  • 7 Mark Allen 165,500
  • 8 John Higgins 158,500
  • 9 Stephen Maguire 152,000
  • 10 Graeme Dott 136,250
  • 11 Thep Un-Nooh 131,000
  • 12 Kyren Wilson 130,000
  • 13 Joe Perry 127,000
  • 14 Mark Williams 113,250
  • 15 David Gilbert 104,000