Barry Hearn 'thrilled' as fans set to return to The Crucible next month

Barry Hearn has said he is ‘thrilled’ that fans will be able to return to The Crucible next month as the World Snooker Championship is used as a pilot event for bringing crowds back to live sport.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 11:54 am

With the championship taking place from 17 April to 3 May, it looked like it would have to be held behind closed doors as the rules for meeting inside are due to end on May 17.

However the status of a pilot event means that a limited number of fans will be able to attend the famous Sheffield venue.

World Snooker Tour chairman Mr Hearn said: “We are thrilled to once again be selected as a crucial participant in the UK Government’s progress towards leading us out of the coronavirus pandemic and back on the road to normal life.

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World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn, left, with reigning world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan

"This research programme will provide evidence required to show that people can get back to doing some of the leisure activities they love, such as visiting theatres, indoor concerts and sporting events.

“This is fabulous news for the players, who have really missed the buzz of playing in front of a crowd. The atmosphere on the first morning at the Crucible will be better than ever. And for those lucky few who have a golden ticket it will an amazing experience.

"Snooker continues to lead the way in the sporting world as we fight back against difficult times.”

The championships in 2020 were also given pilot status, however with cases rapidly on the rise fans were only allowed to attend the opening day and the final.