World Snooker Championship would be 'loss to Sheffield' if cancelled, councillor says

A councillor has admitted this year’s World Snooker Championship would be “a loss to Sheffield” if cancelled, as the authority braces itself for a “significant” income hit because of coronavirus.

By Steve Jones
Sunday, 26th April 2020, 4:31 pm
Updated Monday, 27th April 2020, 12:40 pm

New provisional dates have been announced for the annual event at the Crucible Theatre, but they are “subject to government policy,” organisers said.

Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure at Sheffield City Council, said it was “extremely difficult” to measure the cost of the tournament not going ahead.

But she vowed to “make sure 2021 is a huge celebration of the championship”, if it is cancelled this year.

Judd Trump celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2019 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

Organisers’ preference is to stage the event with a full crowd inside the iconic Crucible, which seats an audience of just under 1,000 spectators.

But if that is not possible they will consider playing in front of a reduced crowd, or even behind closed doors, which would likely have a significant financial impact.

Cllr Lea said: "COVID-19 has had a huge economic impact globally so it's extremely difficult to measure the individual economic impact of the World Snooker Championship, or anything else for that matter, going ahead or not.

"We'll be reviewing loss of income across all sectors and unfortunately, particularly for the events and hospitality industry, we expect this to be significant.”

Organisers confirmed another postponement has not been ruled out.

Cllr Lea added: "We're working closely with World Snooker to support them in delivering the tournament as long as it is safe to do so, and we are yet to see how, if at all, it will go ahead.

"The championship brings in the city's highest global media views annually, so it would of course be a loss to Sheffield if it doesn't happen in 2020.

The event was originally set to take place from 18 April to 4 May.

Cllr Lea said: "We know how important this event is to fans across the world and to Sheffielders, and hope all those who love snooker will be able to enjoy it this year. If it's not possible, we'll work with our partners at World Snooker and Sheffield Theatres to make sure 2021 is a huge celebration of the championship."

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