Fans return to sport live as World Snooker Championship kicks off in Sheffield

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Fans returned to a live sporting event in the UK for the World Snooker Championship.  The Crucible Theater in Sheffield welcomed around 300 spectators for the first session



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Fans have returned to a sporting event in the UK for the first time since the easing of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The Crucible Theater in Sheffield is a third full for the opening session of the World Snooker Championship on Saturday morning with around 320 spectators.

This is the first in a series of test events on the way to a return to normalcy at sporting events, with Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final between Leicester City and Southampton at Wembley set to be watched by 4000 fans.

Fans returned to a live sporting event in the UK for the World Snooker Championship. The Crucible Theater in Sheffield welcomed around 300 spectators for the first session

Starting at a third of the theater's 980 capacity, the number of fans will increase as the tournament progresses over the next 17 days.

Starting at a third of the theater's 980 capacity, the number of fans will increase as the tournament progresses over the next 17 days.

Starting at a third of the theater’s 980 capacity, the number of fans will increase as the tournament progresses over the next 17 days.

Groups of ticket holders were socially distant from each other and had to wear masks

Groups of ticket holders were socially distant from each other and had to wear masks

Groups of ticket holders were socially distant from each other and had to wear masks

Snooker fans arrive at the Crucible Theater in Sheffield for the opening session of the World Championship - this is one of the government's pilot sporting events

Snooker fans arrive at the Crucible Theater in Sheffield for the opening session of the World Championship - this is one of the government's pilot sporting events

Snooker fans arrive at the Crucible Theater in Sheffield for the opening session of the World Championship – this is one of the government’s pilot sporting events

The approximately 320 ticket holders for the first session had to provide a negative test

The approximately 320 ticket holders for the first session were required to provide a negative test

The approximately 320 ticket holders for the first session had to provide a negative test

Capacity at Le Creuset will increase as the 17-day tournament progresses with the expectation that a hall full of 985 people will be able to attend the final on May 2-3.

Capacity at Le Creuset will increase as the 17-day tournament progresses with the expectation that a hall full of 985 people will be able to attend the final on May 2-3.

Capacity at Le Creuset will increase as the 17-day tournament progresses with the expectation that a hall full of 985 people will be able to attend the final on May 2-3.

The number of spectators at the Blue Riband Snooker Championship will increase as it progresses over the next 17 days with the expectation of a full capacity crowd of 980 for the final on May 2-3.

The lucky fans who have tickets to the first session at the Crucible – where defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan faced debutant Mark Joyce – had to undergo a negative lateral flow test to enter.

Spectators were invited to perform PCR testing before and after the event for research purposes.

Fans sat together in socially distant groups inside the crucible and wore face masks.

But the enthusiasm for the live sport was still evident when MC Rob Walker introduced the player at the start of the first round matches.

Fans were socially distanced in their groups inside the arena and had to wear masks

Fans were socially distanced in their groups inside the arena and had to wear masks

Fans were socially distanced in their groups inside the arena and had to wear masks

Announcer Rob Walker introduces the player to fans wearing Creuset masks

Announcer Rob Walker introduces the player to fans wearing Creuset masks

Announcer Rob Walker introduces the player to fans wearing Creuset masks

World Snooker Tour President Barry Hearn was delighted with the tournament's start

World Snooker Tour President Barry Hearn was delighted with tournament start

World Snooker Tour President Barry Hearn was delighted with tournament start

Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan was in action during Saturday's opening session

Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan was in action during Saturday's opening session

Defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan was in action during Saturday’s opening session

Fans wore masks inside and outside the venue and must have tested negative for Covid

Fans wore masks inside and outside the venue and must have tested negative for Covid

Fans wore masks inside and outside the venue and must have tested negative for Covid

Snooker Worlds has been chosen as a pilot for the Government Events Research (ERP) program that will brief ministers on its non-lockdown roadmap.

The government hopes to remove all limits on social contact on June 21.

Other pilot sporting events include the Carabao Cup final between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur next weekend, the FA Cup final at Wembley next month and the final two rounds of the Premier League season.

“It’s important that we are successful because we are sending a message to all other indoor sports, cinemas, theaters,” World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn told the BBC.

“The resulting data will be vital to arrive in the land of milk and honey of normality.

A snooker-themed hedge outside the Sheffield venue as the World Championship begins

A snooker-themed hedge outside the Sheffield venue as the World Championship begins

A snooker-themed hedge outside the Sheffield venue as the World Championship begins

“We start at a third capacity, going up to 50 percent, 75 percent, then for the last two days 100 percent.

“In my 45 years of promoting the sport, if we’re ready for the final after the year we’ve been through at the Crucible, with 500 million people watching this around the world, I think I’ll put that on the same footing. of our greatest moments.

Players participating in the tournament were asked not to pose for selfies or sign autographs in Sheffield.

HOW THE WORLD SNOOKER CHAMPIONSHIP WILL WORK

Round 1 – from Saturday April 17 to Wednesday April 21

The site will operate at 33% of spectator capacity. This will be managed under social distancing guidelines similar to those in place at the end of the Betfred 2020 World Championship and there will be one meter + distance observed between different groups of tickets / reservations.

Social distancing will be observed throughout the building and in external queue areas and face coverings will need to be worn throughout the time inside the building, including while seated.

Round 2 – from Thursday April 22 to Monday April 26

The site will operate at 50% of its capacity. Reservations will be grouped into groups of 1 or 2 and the available places will be distributed around the room to prevent the different parties from sitting next to each other.

Social distancing will not be expected as part of this capacity, although some mitigation procedures are needed to reduce the risk of transmission, including wearing face masks at the site.

Quarter-finals and semi-finals – from Tuesday April 27 to Saturday May 1

The site will operate at 75% of its capacity. It will not be possible to prevent different parties from sitting side by side.

Social distancing will not be expected as part of this capacity, although some mitigation procedures are needed to reduce the risk of transmission, including wearing face masks at the site.

Final – from Sunday 2 to Monday 3 May

The site will operate without any capacity restrictions. It will not be possible to prevent different parties from sitting side by side.

Social distancing will not be expected as part of this capacity, although some mitigation procedures are needed to reduce the risk of transmission, including wearing face masks at the site.

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