Masters: Crowds to return for invitational snooker event in London

Snooker will welcome back spectators at the Masters in January, which is scheduled to take place at the usual venue of Alexandra Palace in London.

Organisers hope to allow up to 1,000 fans for each session, in line with the government’s regional restrictions.

The ongoing UK Championship, as well as the Scottish Open and World Grand Prix, will remain behind closed doors.

On Thursday, China’s Ding Junhui said it is “not safe yet” for the return of crowds to snooker events.

All tournaments so far this season have been played in a bio-secure bubble at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes without fans in attendance.

The last event to feature spectators was the World Championship final in August, when about 300 people were allowed in for the showpiece at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.

World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn said:external-link “The Masters in London is such a special event and I’m sure anyone who has the opportunity to be one of the lucky few in the crowd will grasp that chance.

“The event is renowned for the enthusiasm of the fans and even with a reduced audience I have no doubt it will be a sensational occasion.”

As it stands, a maximum of 4,000 fans are allowed at events in tier one areas in England, up to 2,000 in tier two – which applies to London – and none in the highest-risk regions in tier three.

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