Barry Hearn pledges player safety for free-to-air behind closed doors tournament

Barry Hearn has promised players the highest health and safety measures will be in place when live snooker returns with a free-to-air televised tournament next month.

Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen and Kyren Wilson are among those confirmed to take part in Championship League Snooker, which will see 64 players battle for a top prize of £30,000 at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes between June 1-11.

All players, staff and contractors must return a negative test result for coronavirus prior to entering the venue, while there will be strict social distancing rules applied throughout.

“Players who have any doubts about their own welfare can rest assured that all precautions are being taken,” Hearn said.

“I am confident that there is no other major sport which can meet health and safety criteria on isolation and social distancing as stringently as snooker can, so we are able to return more quickly than others.”

The Marshall Arena has been selected as there is accommodation on site, allowing for players to remain isolated throughout their participation in the event, which will be shown on ITV4.

Players and referees will be told to keep two metres apart where possible, while they must use hand sanitiser before games and refrain from shaking hands.

Snooker’s biggest event, the Betfred World Championship, has been rescheduled to run from July 31 to August 16 at its usual home in Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.

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