UK Govt “exit” plans an why we can very much forget about the 2020 World Championship IMO

This was posted by the BBC this morning:

It applies to England only as Wales, Scotland and Nothern Ireland have decided to stick to stricter measures.

The parts in bold have been “highlighted” by me

Coronavirus: No professional sport in England until 1 June at earliest

No professional sport, even behind closed doors, will be staged in England until 1 June at the earliest, the UK government has announced.

The government has published a 50-page guidance document detailing how England will begin to ease lockdown measures.

Step two of that plan – which will not be allowed to start before 1 June – includes “permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact”.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said being able to hold sporting events behind closed doors could “provide a much-needed boost to national morale”.

The document states that reopening venues that attract large crowds, such as sports grounds, “may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections”.

Premier League clubs are meeting on Monday to continue discussions on Project Restart.

The top flight has been suspended since 13 March because of the coronavirus pandemic but is aiming to resume in June, with 92 of its 380 fixtures left to play.

There will be no cricket played in England and Wales until at least 1 July, following a decision by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

On Monday British Racing’s executive committee said it was committed to planning for a resumption of racing on 1 June.

Premiership Rugby is aiming for a resumption in early July, with nine rounds of matches remaining.

Formula 1 is hoping to race at Silverstone on 19 and 26 July.

Under proposed rules for boxing to resume behind closed doors in July, fighters at British shows will wear protective masks during ring walks and could be banned from using a spit bucket between rounds.

The government’s current aim is to introduce step two of its plan on 1 June but only if sufficient progress is made in “successfully controlling the spread of the virus” and the lifting of restrictions could be delayed.

Sporting events involving international travel could be affected by the government’s planned requirement for all international arrivals “not on a short list of exemptions” to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival in the UK.

Four English teams remain in European football competitions this year – Chelsea and Manchester City in the Champions League and Manchester United and Wolves in the Europa League.

F1 bosses are in talks with the government seeking an exemption for staff from the planned rules on international arrivals.

It is unclear when spectators may be able to attend sporting events again.

Under step three of the plan, which will not start until 4 July at earliest, the government is aiming to reopen some of the remaining businesses that have been forced to close, including hospitality and leisure facilities.

However, it adds: “Some venues which are, by design, crowded and where it may prove difficult to enact distancing may still not be able to reopen safely at this point, or may be able to open safely only in part.

“In order to facilitate the fastest possible reopening of these types of higher-risk businesses and public places, the government will carefully phase and pilot reopenings to test their ability to adopt the new Covid-19 secure guidelines.

“The government will also monitor carefully the effects of reopening other similar establishments elsewhere in the world, as this happens.”

The document also states that “only the development of a vaccine or effective drugs can reliably control this epidemic and reduce mortality without some form of social distancing or contact tracing in place.”

What about recreational sport?

From Wednesday, people in England may exercise outside as many times as they wish, though playgrounds, outdoor gyms and ticketed outdoor leisure venues will remain closed.

They will also be allowed to meet one person from outside their household as long as they stay outdoors and stay two metres apart.

So one-on-one sport with someone from outside your household, such as tennis or cricket nets, will be allowed provided participants adhere to social distancing rules.

However, team sports are not permitted, except with members of your own household.

The Lawn Tennis Association said that following clarifications from the government, tennis activity will resume outdoors in England from Wednesday with “singles play only” unless all players are from the same household “in which case they can play doubles”.

Golf courses in England will reopen on Wednesday with people allowed to play with members of the same household or with one other person from a different household.

Facilities such as tennis courts and golf courses will remain closed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

What does that mean for snooker?

Regarding the bit on travel, the article fails to mention that restrictions are applied and may still be in place in most countries,  and that too will affect the “international” sportspersons. Most countries have been stricter and more proactive than the UK. It would be totally unfair to hold the World Championship qualifiers and then possibly relegate players who did not get an opportunity to play and defend their professional status. Most Asian players – more than one in 6 on the tour – could be affected. 

The Crucible clearly falls under the bit in bold blue. As Barry Hearn has ruled out any other venue, that’s the World Championship pretty much doomed. Anyway, the qualifiers would have needed to happen before the main event, and that clearly looks impossible at this stage.

In short, what I saw as obvious from the start seems to have finally been confirmed by the powers in charge (or, more likely, they have been forced to accept that putting “the economy” before peoples lives may eventually cost them big time, notably in terms of their “status” in politics).

I can’t see the Tour Championship happening either. It can’t be held in Wales. They clearly are not going to ease the lockdown any time soon, and very sensibly too. I can’t see it happening in June either, as Barry Hearn wished. And it wouldn’t make sense to take the risk if the current season is just extended up to the 2021 World Championship at the Crucible, which would be the only sensible thing to do. And even so, priority should be given to events available to all 128 Tour players as it’s the lower-ranked ones who are the more severely impacted by the loss of revenues.



4 thoughts on “UK Govt “exit” plans an why we can very much forget about the 2020 World Championship IMO

  1. Monique.
    I think these views you have are yours alone.
    Essentially they are exclusive to you which is fine but obviously they won’t play any part in what actually happens. You’ll be speaking as an outside voice peering in through the window at what everyone else is doing.
    Dispensation has been given to sports people to travel and be tested with a view to their participation in events worldwide under revised circumstances.
    If overseas types don’t want to be involved they don’t have to and that’s the way of things. Sport moves onwards and upwards even in thee dark times.
    The naysayers can turn away.
    It’s a bigger picture than any hang ups about how global snooker is and this is an opportunity to make the game bigger and better and that’ll be seen all around the world so it should make you happy and not sad.
    Seems you would prefer everything to be cancelled without even trying.
    I’m delighted Barry Hearn is running the game and not the likes of yourself.

    Anyway best wishes.

    • The views are mine and we will see what happens. I would not prefer canceling everything. But I would not want to see players, referees or fans die because money has been deemed more important than people’s lives.

  2. As usual, I disagree totally with you about all matters coronavirus…!

    I have read the regulations issued by the government. According to the projected phases, from 1st June sporting events can be held in an empty stadium. It’s likely that professional football will try to resume shortly after that. With snooker being an indoor activity slightly different rules apply. Those involved in the matches (players and refs) just need to agree that the conditions are acceptable, which almost certainly can be acheived by antigen testing – exactly what the footballers are doing. But yes it will be an empty Crucible.

    Your arguments about ‘fairness’ are correct, but in these times there just isn’t the scope to do things normally, so we do the best we can. There are many instances in sports of top players missing from major events: injury, travel problems, financial difficulties. There are precedents in snooker. There are regularly tournaments which don’t have all 128 professionals in the way we have become so used to.

    If that messes up the record books, then that’s just too bad. Snooker tournaments are not religious rituals, and record books are not sacred scriptures. I do wish some snooker fans would consider that…

    Too many people are in ‘cancellation mentality’ right now. I don’t think being defeatist helps anyone. At least we should try to be creative, practical and positive.

    • Yes, we disagree, and you would probably think differently if you weren’t British. WORLD snooker has been biased in favour of British players for years, in the way they structure events, and the way money is distributed (players get money for held-over matches in Asia, but Chinese players needing to qualify in the UK for their home events get nothing should they lose… f.i.). If the World is played at the Crucible, with most non UK players unable to attend it would be just another instance. If they are relegated because of it, even worse. I’m NOT defeatist. I just don’t see why the World Championship has to happen. For me cancelling it, relegating nobody, and not needing a Q-school would allow snooker to resume earlier, not later, and with events allowing the lower-ranked players to play and earn; they need the money more that the top hitters. And, actually, the way things go, playing in China, Hong Kong or Taiwan would probably be safer than playing in England. So, if you really want the World Champonship, move it there, including the qualifiers… and wait for the outcry when some UK players can’t attend. And don’t mention quarantine. Asian players, IF allowed, would be quarantined upon arrival in the UK as well. I’m not about stats, records,and the like. For me the “Crucible” isn’t sacred. I’m sincerely convinced that canceling it, and extending the season up to May 2021 would be the best and fairest option for the vast majority of players and the one allowing them to be back playing as early as safely feasible.

Comments are closed.