Snooker crowds will return again in the New Year, it has today been announced.
World Snooker Tour says fans will be allowed in at The Masters in January at London’s Alexandra Palace.
The Masters is one of snooker’s major competitions – and news of the announcement will delight thousands of fans hoping to see the sport’s elite stars compete for the one of the biggest prizes in the game.
Due to coronavirus, this season has seen snooker events played behind closed doors and much of the last season’s delayed World Championship in August was played without fans albeit during the final and the opening day.
But it is hoped up to 1,000 fans will be able to attend each session of The Masters between January 10 and 17. Fans who have already purchased tickets have been informed via email. A further announcement will be made in regards to tickets for general sale.
Last year’s event was won by Stuart Bingham.
WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome our fabulous fans back to live snooker events. We are reliant on Government advice but we will do everything in our powers to make this a reality.
“The Masters in London is such a special event and I’m sure anyone who has the opportunity to be one of the lucky few in the crowd will grasp that chance. The event is renowned for the enthusiasm of the fans and even with a reduced audience I have no doubt it will be a sensational occasion.”
“In 2020 we will stage a total of 20 events on the World Snooker Tour which is an incredible achievement in the circumstances. We have maintained prize money levels for the players, and given our millions of fans around the globe an abundance of live snooker to watch on television. In August at the World Championship we were extremely proud to be the first post-lockdown UK indoor sporting event to host fans.
“Since then our events have been behind closed doors and we have missed the amazing atmosphere which only our dedicated fans can generate. It is wonderful news for the players that they will soon be able to feel the buzz around them when they walk into an arena.”
A decision has been made to continue with the Betway UK Championship, Scottish Open and World Grand Prix behind closed doors without any crowds.