Coronavirus: Snooker returns in England as Trump targets glory


World champion Judd Trump will head a star-studded field after it was confirmed snooker will return in England next month.

The Championship League tournament in Milton Keynes will run from June 1 to 11, featuring 64 players who will be obliged to follow social distancing measures as they fight for a share of £200,000 in prize-money.

World Snooker Tour (WST) is run by Matchroom Sport, which is also behind ambitious plans to stage world-title level boxing within the grounds of its Essex mansion headquarters.

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Snooker, like most sport across the globe, has been suspended since March, but there are plans in place for its delayed World Championship showpiece event to take place from July 31.

WST said all snooker players and officials at the Championship League would undergo COVID-19 testing before being allowed into the Marshall Arena venue, with competitors told to avoid customary handshakes.

Players will not be allowed to bring guests to the tournament and there will be no spectators, although the tournament will be broadcast on terrestrial television in the UK.

Trump is joined in the line-up by fellow top-five stars Neil Robertson and Mark Allen, and the tournament will operate on a round-robin basis, with £30,000 going to the winner.

Barry Hearn, chairman of the WST and Matchroom Sport, said: "While most other sports remain sidelined, we are ready to return from June 1. This sends out a message to the sporting world that snooker is at the forefront of innovation.

"We will be the first major sport [in the UK] to get back to live televised action. That's not by chance, it's because of the hard work and preparation we have done during the lockdown to make sure we are ready to get going again as soon as it is legal."

Hearn, father of boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, added: "These are challenging times but as always we are looking at the opportunities rather than the limitations."

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