Snooker

Championship League to go ahead in June as snooker set to become first UK sport to return

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Judd Trump | Snooker | ESP Player Feature

Image credit: Getty Images

ByDesmond Kane
22/05/2020 at 05:52 | Updated 22/05/2020 at 07:37

Snooker will become the first UK sport to return from enforced hibernation when the Championship League is held between 1 June and 11 June in Milton Keynes.

World champion and world number one Judd Trump will start as favourite in a 64-man event at the Marshall Arena that will be staged behind closed doors and adhere to strict health guidelines due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

World number two Neil Robertson will also participate with the winner picking up a £30,000 first prize and a place in the Champion of Champions event.

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Other details from the Championship League tournament have been revealed by organisers World Snooker Tour:

  • Social distancing measures in place throughout the venue.
  • Players seated at least two metres apart during matches.
  • Players using anti-bacterial hand sanitiser before matches and avoiding handshakes.
  • Referees endeavouring to keep two metres away from players where possible.
  • There will be no access for players’ guests.
  • First aid personnel on site at all times.

World Snooker Tour said: "All players, staff and contractors will be virus-tested prior to entering the venue and will be in isolation until their results are known. Players will require a negative test result in order to enter the venue. They will play all group matches on one day, remaining on site throughout, and will then leave the venue."

The sport has been in lockdown since Trump won the Gibraltar Open behind closed doors on 15 March.

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World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn is hopeful the tournament will provide a launch pad to ensure the delayed World Championship can be held at the Crucible Theatre in July.

The 44th staging of the game's biggest event was due to start on 18 April, but will begin on 31 July until 16 August. It appears likely the event will be forced to go ahead behind closed doors in Sheffield.

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“During the challenging times of the past few weeks we have examined the opportunities which still exist and worked relentlessly towards the goal of getting our tour going again," said Hearn.

"While most other sports remain sidelined, we are ready to return from June 1st. This sends out a message to the sporting world that snooker is at the forefront of innovation."

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