Masters 2021 moved to Milton Keynes

I can’t say that it comes as a big surprise, but it’s a shame all the same: The 2021 Masters will be played in Milton Keynes.

Here is WST announcement:

Masters To Be Staged In Milton Keynes

The Masters, snooker’s biggest invitation event which starts on January 10th, has been moved from Alexandra Palace to Milton Keynes so that strict Covid-19 regulations can be followed.

WST had planned to host the event at Alexandra Palace in London, its home since 2011. But given the current Covid-19 restrictions, the decision has been taken to stage the Masters in a ‘bubble’ environment, behind closed doors, at Arena MK in Milton Keynes.

All players will be tested the day before their first match, and will remain within the bubble as long as they are participating in the tournament. All officials and staff will also be within the bubble, following strict regulations on isolation, hygiene and social distancing.

Stuart Bingham beat Ali Carter in last year’s final

The Masters runs from January 10th to 17th, featuring the world’s top 16 players. Stuart Bingham will defend the title against the likes of Judd Trump, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson, John Higgins and Mark Selby.

WST Chairman Barry Hearn OBE said: “It’s disappointing for everyone connected with the event not to be heading to its spiritual home at Alexandra Palace. However our highest priority is always health and safety, and that is the basis of this decision.

“We must take all necessary steps to ensure that the event will go ahead and provide fantastic entertainment for many millions of fans throughout the world.

“Throughout this pandemic we have done all we can to keep our tour going. There have been setbacks along the way, including the decision to stage the Masters without the live fans we have missed so much. All assessments are based on data and our regular discussions with the UK Government and public health bodies.

“We staged several events in a strict bubble environment in Milton Keynes last summer and we were delighted that these were run successfully. I trust the 16 players to accept this decision, follow the rules carefully and enjoy one of our greatest tournaments. The standard of play and entertainment they have provided so far this season has been astonishing.”

The event will receive global television coverage from broadcasters including BBC, Eurosport, CCTV and Matchroom.Live

The Masters is one of snooker’s Triple Crown events with a rich history dating back to 1975

I wrote that it’s a shame because the players must be sick and tired of Milton Keynes. That said, I don’t think an empty Alexandra palace did work that well for the darts,  and it wouldn’t probably have either for the snooker.

Now I wonder if all top 16 players will be there or if some might give it a miss …

10 thoughts on “Masters 2021 moved to Milton Keynes

  1. Why was WCS darts allowed and The Masters not at the same venue?
    Only 1 week in between?

    • The darts started weeks ago. Since, the situation has significantly got worse. To a significant extemd because of the stupid and actually criminal decision to relax the rules over the Xmas period. How was that ever going to work? Crowding shops, having pewple running around, gathering and getting smashed, how was that going to be safe? Unless you come up with the preposterous idea that because it is a religious celebration God would desactivate the virus for the occasion. It was aimed at two things: giving the economy a temporary boost, and making people “happy”, in total disregard for the longer term consequences. So many of those “happy” people will be mourning in the coming weeks and that was totally unecessary.

  2. It is a bit of a surprise, as they probably had to tear up a contract with Alexandra Palace, although it’s possible that the terms would have been unfavourable for the venue without ticket receipts.

    I think it’s perhaps more likely to get the full top-16 to a known venue, even if they are jaded with it. For most, it’s their first snooker for 3 weeks, so they have had a bit of a rest from it. Most working people have to go to work at the same location for years. It’s the Shoot-out and Gibraltar that may be too much for many of the top players.

    • I don’t think it’s the place itself really I guess, more the association with all the constraints generated by the covid crisis.

    • Totally agree with Lewis and I thought the same: it’s a job and most people usually go to work to the same place. 🙂 There is a long discourse by Ronnie at

      why it is terrible, but while I do understand his arguments about the unfortunate location of the Marshall Arena and the greatness of York and coffee there, now that everything is closed so no restaurants to go anyway, surely it is not relevant?

      I have to admit that despite watching and reading about it, I’m still not clear about how and why constraints vary along different tournaments, bur maybe for Ronnie all his driving home between matches is not too helpful.

      I could not care less about what happens to the Shootout (except that now Ronnie safely having qualified for the Coral Tour, won’t feel the need to enter, but I chukled at the throught that British people will need a passport to Gibraltar now, so having it in Milton Keynes might be a lot easier on them.

      • I’m actually not sure what to make of this article. Those are all things Ronnie said before, things that Desmond seems to have gathered together in this piece again, and I’m not sure there is anything in there that he actually said now about the decision.

      • Good point, there are many articles that are just put together from previous utterances, I just thought something on the Eurosport page is more reliable. 🙂

    • Most people go to work to the same place for years indeed, but usually they don’t have to stay overnight and they still can go out, see other persons than their colleagues and do whatever when their job is done. I say usually because, in a way Milton Keynes is a bit like working on a boat or an offshore drilling platform. It’s not for everyone. Mental health issues are magnified in such environments.

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