This year’s UK Snooker Championship has been moved to Milton Keynes due to the implications of the imminent coronavirus lockdown, the sport’s governing body has announced.
The tournament, which begins on November 23, had been due to take place at the York Barbican, where it has been staged since 2011, from the second round onwards.
The Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes has staged a series of events this year in an established Covid-secure bubble, which includes a requirement that players either stay in the on-site hotel, or travel directly from home.
World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn said: “Following extensive consultation with the UK Government and the relevant public health bodies, the decision has been made to stage all matches in Milton Keynes this time.
“It is an ideal venue, we are working with an exceptional team there and we have proved over the past few months that we can stage major tournaments there, involving 128 players, safely and successfully.
“In the circumstances we face today, our crucial objective is to keep our events going, provide competitive action and prize money for our players, and top-class sport for the many millions of television viewers around the world who are in need of inspiration.”
Five-time winner Stephen Hendry is expected to make his comeback in the behind-closed-doors tournament after accepting a two-year invitational tour card.