Snooker fans can go to World Championships at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre

Snooker fans can go to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield to watch this month's World Championships after the event was named as a pilot for the safe return of spectators to elite sport.
udd Trump celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2019 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield.  Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wireudd Trump celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2019 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield.  Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire
udd Trump celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2019 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield. Photo credit should read: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

The Government today announced that a small number of sporting events will be used to pilot the safe return of spectators through late July and early August.

It is hoped that competition venues can be reopened for sports fans, with social distancing measures in place, from October.

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The events chosen are the World Snooker Championships, which start on July 31, the Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival and two men’s county cricket friendly matches.

Ministers say the pilot events will provide the opportunity to stress-test the Government’s 'stage five' guidance, on the return of fans to elite sports events.

The guidance includes measures that must be in place, including carefully controlled bookings so that social distancing is observed in seating arrangements.

Sports venues have been closed to spectators since lockdown measures were implemented on March 23.

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In recent weeks certain elite sports have resumed behind closed doors, such as Premier League and Championship football, international cricket and horse racing.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “For months millions of us have felt the void of being unable to go to the match to support our team or attend a top-class sporting event.

"So I am pleased that we are now able to move forward with a plan to help venues safely reopen their doors to fans.

“I recognise that not every sport, team or club has the benefit of huge commercial revenue, and it is often their dedicated fans that are the lifeblood which helps keep them going.

"By working closely with sports and medical experts, these pilots will help ensure the safe return of fans to stadia."