UK snooker will return on 1 June as the sport’s Championship League will be broadcasted on the ITV network for the first-time.
The tournament, which returns with a new format, will feature 64 players including Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen and Kyren Wilson who have already been confirmed for the competition. Moreover, to ensure that government health protocols are met, the tournament organisers have implemented strict hygiene rules to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
These measures include implementing social distancing throughout the venue, players following strict hygiene rules, COVID testing before entry, and having first aid personnel on site.
All matches will take place at Marshall Arena due to its on-site accommodation, this means that once entered into the competition no players, officials and staff will need to leave the venue.
Matchroom Sport Chairman Barry Hearn stated: “During the challenging times of the past few weeks we have examined the opportunities which still exist and worked relentlessly towards the goal of getting our tour going again.
“While most other sports remain sidelined, we are ready to return from June 1. This sends out a message to the sporting world that snooker is at the forefront of innovation.
“Our first priority has to be safety and we have had detailed discussions with the government in creating a set of approved guidelines for the event which will be rigorously followed. We are making this very clear to the players and everyone working on the event.
“Liaising with government advisors, we have prepared highly detailed health and safety documents which will be followed to the letter during the tournament. These measures surpass any others made in any other professional sport right now.”
As alluded to prior the competition, which concludes on 11 June, will be aired on ITV providing fans with live sporting entertainment from the group stages all the way until the tournament’s conclusion.
In terms of who else might be participating in the tournament, Matchroom Sport has confirmed that all 128 World Snooker Tour card holders will be invited to participate, with the top 64 receiving a place.
Controller of ITV Sport Production, Mark Demuth, added: “We know fans have been missing live action since the lockdown has been in place, so we’re delighted to bring snooker back, marking the return of live sport to free-to-air TV. Behind the scenes, our team has been working with the event organisers to ensure strict adherence to guidelines to safeguard the well-being of all involved, which is our priority.”
Snooker’s Championship League has a total prize fund of over £200,000, with each participating player guaranteed £1,000. In addition, the winner of the tournament will earn £30,000 and a spot in November’s Champion of Champions event.