More doubts over whether next month’s World Snooker Championship will be held as normal have been cast this evening after the Government called on people not to attend mass gatherings amid the coronavirus outbreak.
In a historic press conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the nation people should work at home, avoid non-essential travel and avoid mass gatherings if possible.
He added that social venues, including pubs and theatres, should be avoided.
Due to the uncertainty of the virus, it is not known how long these measures will be in place for.
Mr Johnson said: “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.”
No official statement has been made by World Snooker Tour regarding the World Championship as yet since today’s Government announcement – however it has announced that this week’s Tour Championship ranking event will be held behind closed doors, like the weekend’s Gibraltar Open.
The World Championship is due to take place between April 18 and May 4.
Sheffield Theatres, the hosting company of the World Championship, says it will be making a statement on Tuesday morning regarding the direction it is taking due to the outbreak, which has now led to the death of more than 50 people in the UK.
World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn could be set to make one of his toughest decisions since taking over the sport more than a decade ago.
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Snooker is a cue sport that originated among British Army officers stationed in India in the second half of the 19th century. It is played on a rectangular table covered with a green cloth, with pockets at each of the four corners and in the middle of each long side.