All of Sheffield's major theatres have been closed indefinitely after the UK government advice to limit social contact amid the escalating health crisis.
As a result, the 44th staging of the World Championship at the Crucible Theatre, due to begin on April 18 until May 4, has been postponed.
The qualifying rounds of snooker’s biggest event were due to run from April 8 to 15 at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
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WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “These are tough times for everyone but we are determined to get through it. Fans around the world – as well as the 144 players involved – are anxious to know if and when the World Championship will go ahead.
“Snooker players are self-employed, they need opportunities to earn prize money so we have a responsibility to them. We are currently exploring the potential to stage tournaments behind closed doors to keep the circuit alive, with more details to follow next week."
The cancellation seemed inevitable after this week's Tour Championship in Llandudno was postponed after UK government advice to the British public to avoid mass gatherings including venues such as theatres, cinemas, pubs and clubs.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a media conference on Monday: “It remains true, as we said in the last few weeks, that this sort of transmissions of the disease at mass gatherings such as sporting events are relatively low, but obviously, logically, as we advise against unnecessary social contact of all kinds, it’s right that we should extend that advice to mass gatherings as well.”
Amid a sporting calendar decimated by the outbreak across the globe, The Grand National and the Boat Race have both been called off with professional football in the UK already in lockdown, the Six Nations rugby tournament postponed and the ATP and WTA tennis seasons forced to abandon events until May at the earliest.
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