Matchroom Sport has announced that Championship League Snooker on 1st June and will be broadcast live on ITV.
Featuring 64-players in round-robin groups, a new-look tournament will take place behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes. Organisers say that the venue has been selected because of its on-site accommodation, which means players, officials and staff will not need to leave the venue once they have entered it.
The participants and staff will also comply with strict rules on social distancing, while coronavirus testing and other hygiene measures will be in place. Referees will attempt to remain at least two metres from players at all times, while there will be no access to the venue for player guests.
Play will begin at 3pm each day, running continuously until both groups are complete, with the exception of Friday, June 5th when play will begin at 4pm. The event will run until 11th June and have a total prize fund of £200,000.
“We will be the first major sport to get back to live televised action. That’s not by chance, it’s because of the hard work and preparation we have done during the lockdown to make sure we are ready to get going again as soon as it is legal,” said Barry Hearn, Chairman, Matchroom Sport.
“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.
“In particular, procedures are being put in place for testing players, staff and contractors, which ensure that we are doing everything possible to keep the event safe. Players who have any doubts about their own welfare can rest assured that all precautions are being taken.
“I am confident that there is no other major sport which can meet health and safety criteria on isolation and social distancing as stringently as snooker can, so we are able to return more quickly than others.”
All 128 World Snooker Tour card holders will be invited to participate, with the top 64 who enter receiving a place in the tournament. Top players including Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen and Kyren Wilson have already confirmed they will enter the event.