April 22, 2020 / 2:24 PM / a month ago

Snooker: Rescheduled World Championship set for July 31 start

FILE PHOTO: Snooker - Betfred World Snooker Championship - The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield - 2/5/15 General view of the cueing action of Barry Hawkins during his Semi-final match Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Craig Brough

(Reuters) - The World Snooker Championship, originally scheduled for April 18 to May 4, will start on July 31 at the Crucible Theatre, the World Snooker Tour (WST) said on Wednesday.

The 17-day season-ending showpiece was postponed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought global sport to a standstill.

"The preference is to stage the event with a full crowd inside the iconic Crucible Theatre, which seats an audience of just under 1,000 spectators," WST said in a statement here

The WST said it would also consider either holding the event with a reduced crowd or with no spectators in attendance or postponing the event to a later date again based on government advice at the time.

“We are delighted to confirm new dates for this huge global sporting event which has an international television audience of 500 million people,” WST Chairman Barry Hearn said.

“The world is going through a very challenging period, but live sport can be a massive inspiration for the public and can boost morale.

“The players are self-employed and they need opportunities to earn, while we keep the health and safety of everyone involved in an event of this scale as a priority.”

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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