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World Snooker Championship: Crucible to welcome back fans for showpiece event

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World Snooker Championship to allow spectators

Image credit: Eurosport

ByEurosport
20/07/2020 at 13:08 | Updated 21/07/2020 at 12:33

The 2020 World Snooker Championship will become the first indoor event to pilot the safe return of fans, World Snooker Tour has said.

A reduced crowd will be allowed at the Crucible Theatre for the entirety of the event.

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“[The decision] follows the announcement from the UK Government that a small number of sporting events have been carefully selected, providing the opportunity to stress-test the Government’s ‘stage five’ guidance, on the return of fans to elite sports events,” read a press release from WST.

“Extensive health and safety guidelines for the pilot sporting events have been provided by the Government and these will be followed carefully by WST. Spectators will be expected to follow a code of conduct, with further details to be announced shortly.”

Every ticket-holding fan who, under instruction from WST, re-registered their interest to attend in person last month had secured their place at the showpiece event, the statement added.

“Earlier this month, WST asked all fans with tickets for the original dates of the World Championship to register their interest in keeping a place among a reduced crowd. Every fan who decided to keep their tickets will now be awarded a place among the crowd.”

There will also be a certain amount of general sales tickets on offer in the coming weeks, added the statement.

When does the tournament begin?

The 44th staging of the 2020 World Championship begins on Friday 31 July at 10am (BST) and ends on Sunday 16 August with the final session starting at 7pm (BST) at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, host venue for the sport's biggest event since 1977

It had been due to start on Saturday 18 April and run until Monday 4 May, but was forced to be delayed due to the global coronavirus crisis.

16 qualifiers will be drawn against the top 16 for the first round of the tournament.

You can find out ticket availability here.

Where can I watch?

Eurosport and Eurosport Player will broadcast all 17 days of the event. Check here for TV listings, or alternatively here for details on how to stream the event live via the Eurosport Player. In addition to the live streaming available on Eurosport Player, daily reports and highlights of matches will be published online on the Eurosport website.

When is qualifying? Can I watch it?

Eurosport and Eurosport Player will stream and broadcast all eight days of the Snooker World Championship qualifying event at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield between 21 July and 28 July with extensive online live streaming coverage for fans across 50 territories in Europe.

  • The 16 players invited by WPBSA will join players seeded 81-128 in Round One
  • Those 64 players play each other, with the 32 winners going into Round Two
  • Round Two: those 32 winners will face players seeded 49-80
  • Round Three: those 32 winners will face players seeded 17-48
  • Round Four: those 32 winners play each other, with the 16 winners going through to the Crucible to face the top 16 seeds

The final qualifying round – known as Judgement Day – takes place on July 27 and 28. The 16 winners qualify for the Crucible to be drawn at random against one of the top 16 seeds. 2006 world champion Graeme Dott, two-times world finalist Ali Carter and last season's beaten semi-finalist Gary Wilson are among those going for gold via the qualifying stage.

All matches will be best of 11 frames, up until the final round which will be best of 19. Session times each day will be 1.30pm and 7pm, until the final round which is 1pm and 7pm.

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What is the draw for the Snooker World Championship?

World Championship first round

  • Judd Trump Eng (1) v Qualifier
  • Yan Bingtao Chn (16) v Qualifier
  • Stephen Maguire Sco (9) v Qualifier
  • Kyren Wilson Eng (8) v Qualifier
  • John Higgins Sco (5) v Qualifier
  • David Gilbert Eng (12) v Qualifier
  • Jack Lisowski Eng (13) v Qualifier
  • Mark Allen NI (4) v Qualifier
  • ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
  • Mark Williams Wal (3) v Qualifier
  • Stuart Bingham Eng (14) v Qualifier
  • Ding Junhui Chn (11) v Qualifier
  • Ronnie O’Sullivan Eng (6) v Qualifier
  • Mark Selby Eng (7) v Qualifier
  • Shaun Murphy Eng (10) v Qualifier
  • Barry Hawkins Eng (15) v Qualifier
  • Neil Robertson Aus (2) v Qualifier

The format

  • First round: best of 19 frames
  • Second round: best of 25 frames
  • Quarter-finals: best of 25 frames
  • Semi-finals: best of 33 frames
  • Final: best of 35 frames

Prize money

  • Winner: £500,000
  • Runner-up: £200,000
  • Semi-finalist: £100,000
  • Quarter-finalist £50,000
  • Second round: £30,000
  • First round: £20,000
  • Last 48: £15,000
  • Last 80: £10,000
  • Last 112: £5,000
  • Highest break: £15,000

Total price fund: £2,395,000

Former world champions in field

  • Ronnie O'Sullivan (2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013)
  • John Higgins (1998, 2007, 2009, 2011)
  • Mark Williams (2000, 2003, 2018)
  • Mark Selby (2014, 2016, 2017)
  • Judd Trump (2019)
  • Stuart Bingham (2015)
  • Neil Robertson (2010)
  • Graeme Dott (2006)
  • Shaun Murphy (2005)

Who is defending champion?

Undisputed world number one Judd Trump won his first Snooker World Championship with an 18-9 win over John Higgins a year ago. He is bidding to become the first maiden winner in the Crucible era to successfully defend the title.

The 'Crucible Curse' is part of snooker folklore with nobody retaining the trophy a year after lifting it for the first time including icons such as Alex Higgins, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan. It would be a significant milestone in Trump's career if he becomes the first player to end that sequence.

What are the permutations?

Trump will be in action on the opening day of the event on 31 July. He is due to meet Riga Masters winner Yan Bingtao in the last 16 and could come across recent Tour Championship winner Stephen Maguire in the quarter-finals. Maguire lost 13-6 to Trump in the last eight a year ago, but toppled him 9-6 in the semi-finals of the Tour Championship.

Fives-times winner O'Sullivan begins the event ranked sixth in the world, but has yet to progress beyond the last eight over the past six years. He will be wary of the potential dangers after losing 10-8 to amateur qualifier James Cahill in a major shock in the first round a year ago.

The Essex man is seeded to face Ding Junhui in the last 16, a possible match with three-times winner Mark Williams or 2015 champion Stuart Bingham in the quarter-finals and could come across 2010 world champion and world number two Neil Robertson in the best-of-33 frame semi-finals.

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Bingham ousted O'Sullivan in the quarter-finals on his way to victory in 2015 while UK champion Ding beat him at the same stage in 2017.

Providing he negotiates a path to the semi-finals, Trump could potentially encounter former Masters holder Mark Allen or four-times champion John Higgins in the semi-finals.

The bottom quarter of the draw looks to be the toughest with former world champions Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy potentially colliding over the best of 25 frames in the last 16 and Robertson or 2013 finalist Barry Hawkins also in the frame to meet the winner of that match in the quarter-finals.

ODDS

  • Judd Trump 5/2
  • Ronnie O'Sullivan 4/1
  • Neil Robertson 5/1
  • Mark Selby 11/1
  • Shaun Murphy 14/1
  • Mark Allen 16/1
  • Kyren Wilson 20/1
  • John Higgins 20/1
  • Ding Junhui 22/1
  • Stephen Maguire 28/1
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