Exclusive by Annette Lord
Hazel Irvine will be back at the World Championship this year – according to her management team.
The 55-year-old popular broadcaster has not been seen on BBC’s coverage of snooker for a year and missed last year’s rescheduled World Championship due to “personal reasons”.
Irvine has also been missing from BBC’s snooker coverage of both the UK Championship and the Masters this season, with many snooker fans expressing their disappointment at not seeing her and wondering when she would return.
Now her management company has confirmed to Snooker Chat that Irvine will be back when the World Championship returns to the Crucible this spring.
The BBC told Snooker Chat they had yet to confirm their broadcasting line-up for the World Championship but a spokesperson for Hazel’s agents, Jane Morgan Management Ltd, said: “Yes, Hazel will be presenting the World Championships in April.”
The news is likely to delight Hazel’s many thousands of fans and snooker followers who appreciate her skill, professionalism and insight in front of the cameras.
Until her surprise absence last year, Irvine has been a constant in fronting the snooker for BBC since 2001. Jason Mohammad and Seema Jaswal have stepped up during her absence.
There has been no confirmation of why Irvine has been absent for so long.
The World Championship runs at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, from 17 April to 3 May, as was confirmed by Barry Hearn last month. The famous event was won by Ronnie O’Sullivan in August last year.
It remains unclear whether fans will be allowed to visit the Crucible during the tournament.