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O'Sullivan handed bye after opponent tests positive for COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Snooker - BetVictor Welsh Open Final - Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales - 21/2/16 Ronnie O'Sullivan in action during the final Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Rebecca Naden Livepic

LONDON (Reuters) - World champion Ronnie O’Sullivan was handed a bye to the second round of the European Masters on Tuesday after Welsh opponent Daniel Wells tested positive for COVID-19.

Wells was one of five withdrawals from the Milton Keynes tournament, with Gary Wilson also testing positive while Michael White, Elliot Slesser and David Lilley must self-isolate after coming into contact with the pair, organisers said.

Wells and Wilson were tested on arrival on Monday and received the results on Tuesday.

Slessor made clear his unhappiness on Twitter: “Well that’s it. Thrown out of the tournament without even testing positive. But was in contact with someone what was,” he said.

“Brilliant news nice 4 hour journey home now all at my own expense.”

The first ranking event of the new season, with an 80,000 pound ($102,176) prize for the winner, is O’Sullivan’s first since he took a sixth world championship in Sheffield last month.

The tournament is being held behind closed doors.($1 = 0.7830 pounds)

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Editing by Alison Williams

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