More reactions about a possible crowd at the Crucible and a preview of the qualifiers

As I expected, I was cricified by some yesterday for expressing the opinion that having a crowd at the Crucible in less than two weeks time would be irresponsible.

I stand by what I wrote.

And I suggest that those who disagree look at what others who, like me. have been there, both in the crowd and behind the scene, think about it.

David Caulfield sees the positives but seriously questions wether it’s worth the risk

here are excerpts

Yet, it would be totally naive and remiss to completely ignore the potential problems that are attached to this move.

Even if social distancing is followed, tests are given, masks are worn, and hands are sanitised, the reality is that health and safety cannot be guaranteed.

The UK is still in a situation where it is recovering from the pandemic, with several hundred new cases being reported everyday.

Will masks be worn diligently, or will the confusingly ridiculous advice from the UK government that it is merely “encouraged” in certain, and often bizarre, situations be followed?

Yet, what was already an enormous task is going to be made even harder as a consequence of this decision.

It’s worth remembering that the World Championship isn’t a one-day event, where a trial like this one would make more sense.

As the plan will likely be implemented for the full show, there will be fans moving in and out of the Crucible Theatre for 17 days, at any which point an infection could put the entire event in jeopardy.

If a player contracts COVID-19, presumably he or she will automatically have to withdraw, which would be a farce in terms of the integrity of the competition.

The players will obviously be kept inside their own bubble and as far away as possible from the fans at all times.

With the Crucible being infamously small, though, it’s not beyond the realms of chance that one of them ends up testing positive regardless of the distancing regulations imposed.

Screenshot 2020-07-18 at 12.32.42

Hector is one of the best snooker journalists, and has worked in the media room for years. It triggered this reaction from Snookerbacker, a leading snooker blogger for years and another one who has been at the Crucible, as a spectator and in the media room

Screenshot 2020-07-18 at 12.34.54

Andy Lee, a player from Hong Kong posted this on twitter:

Screenshot 2020-07-18 at 12.37.25

The Hong Kong area, and its population, have a lot more experience with epidemics than people in the UK. They know the risks and they handled the crisis, much, much better than the UK. They had 1714 cases and 11 casualties and that with over 7500000 inhabitants clustered in less than 3000 km

So there you go. I may be “negative as sin” in your eyes, you are clueless in mine.

Now onto something more positive, the fourth issue of The Chalk is out.

It contains my preview of the World Championship qualifiers, and much, much more. Please support and subscribe. You won’t regret it.

7 thoughts on “More reactions about a possible crowd at the Crucible and a preview of the qualifiers

    • My understanding of Lewis comment was that the “coup”, a promotional coup, would only “happen” if eventually there was no crowd. Barry Hearn would then be seen as the promoter who did all he could, whislt, at the same time, all risks linked to the presence of a crowd would disappear.

      • Ok. And what do you say to the fact that ALL ticket holders have been contacted. So, do you think from ALL ticket holders they let in, let’s say, a few dozens and the majority will consist of those “authorised guests” when assuming they let in round about 100? That would be a bit weird.

  1. I still think it’s too early to know what arrangements can be made – it takes several conversations after the initial announcement by the government. But it does seem like a totally unnecessary risk, when they had organised two very safe and successful tournaments and established the procedures.

    If it’s about trying to provide an ‘atmosphere’ then I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t try to experiment more in the Covid CL – they had 11 days to try various technological things: simulated applause (controlled by the commentators), music between frames, live relays from at-home audience, etc.

    It’s probably not about money, as the numbers cannot possibly be very high (unless they plan to sell 100 tickets for £1000 each, for example). It may be about inviting authorised guests (sponsors, corporates, officials) which in my view would be the only reasonable proposal.

    It could be that (as usual) they are craving to replicate the environment of the 1981 World Championship, which can’t be terribly convincing with a small crowd at best. But I’ve said before this constant harking back to the 1980’s, again and again and again, will ultimately lead to the terminal decline of snooker sometime in the next 10 years.

    But one thing: provided the measures are sensible (in my view no members of the public), and a player does test positive and has to withdraw, this does not make the whole event a ‘farce’, although it might if several players withdrew. Sports regularly have to deal with players getting injured – several major tennis finals have been spoiled by that. Indeed, there have even been some occasions where snooker players have quit during a match. But it’s the unneccesary risks which are the damaging ones.

    Or it could all turn out to be a magnificent political stroke by BH! Having successfully obtained concessions from the government, he could ultimately decide to play behind closed doors after all, deciding that it couldn’t be done safely. This would show his judgement to be superior than the government’s! What a great coup that would be!

    • Could you have overlooked something, Lewis?

      This article, especially the paragraph beginning with “All fans” suggests that it is not about “authorised guests”, and the quote “But we are working hard towards making this happen if it is possible.” (end of quote) further suggests that it is not about a coup.

      • Nobody speaks about a coup. It’s customary to have seats reserved for the sponsor, seats they can allocate to whoever they want. Especially in the latter stages, the sponsor gets quite a few. Just like Lewis, I expect this to be the case again.

      • Yes, to be honest Christian I wasn’t that hopeful that we were witnessing genius at work. On this issue I’m in agreement with Monique, David Caulfield, and many others. It’s crazy to risk the gains that have been made so far. Holding multi-table events is enough of a step for the moment. It really is rather important that this World Championship is a success!

Comments are closed.