Snooker chiefs and MPs will discuss the next steps for moving forward with reopening next week.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for snooker have informed the Sports Minister on how the sport’s governing body the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) have been preparing to bring the sport back when “conditional” lockdown restrictions ease further in the next few weeks/months.
The cross-party group have sent the key documentation over to Oliver Dowden as the government seek to try to get key sports like snooker back on when it’s safe to do so.
It comes as there have been hints that there could be a return for the Premier League football behind closed doors in June – although; the hint is conditional depending on how the second phase of the government’s eased lockdown restrictions develop over the next few weeks.
And World Snooker Tour Boss Barry Hearn has been hoping for a return to snooker in July/August as the April/May World Championships were postponed due to a partial shutdown of the economy.
Speaking on the excellent work the WPBSA is doing behind the scenes, Karl McCartney MP said: “Snooker is a huge global sport, particularly in China. As a global governing body, the WPBSA was therefore necessarily ahead of many national NGBs and had already seen the impact of the restrictions imposed.”
He added: “The APPG has been in regular contact with the WPBSA and has received its excellent guidance documentation for snooker to return as soon as specific restrictions are lifted. I have sent that draft guidance today to the Sports Minister so he is aware and will, hopefully, ensure snooker as a playable sport will be able to return swiftly.”
Next week, directors and the APPG will hook up to discuss ways forward and responses to current circumstances.
McCartney added, “At times like this, you see the best in people. Snooker is more than just a sport; it is hugely important for people of all ages throughout the UK. I have seen how hard the staff at WPBSA have been working to ensure the sport of snooker is in a position to return as soon as possible. They should be congratulated on their response.”
Professionals can now return to work, providing it’s safe to do so…
Professionals on the World Snooker Tour will be allowed to return to their clubs to practice, provided they social distance, and the club owners have strict cleaning and sanitation arrangements, according to the WPBSA.
The rest will be unable to return, for now.
The message reads: “The place of work of a professional snooker player is not only at events. It is also where their practice table is based for training purposes. It is essential that players have access to training facilities before returning to professional tournament play.
Snooker is no different to other professional sports and professional snooker players are no different to other athletes in this respect. Return to professional competition or approved online activity is essential for professional players to earn a living.”
Lockdown “survival” measures for businesses such as snooker clubs…
Currently, clubs across the UK are closed as the government has entered the second phase of easing restrictions on tough lockdown measures, but on Sunday Boris Johnson announced his “conditional” road map for the next few months ahead with a gradual easing in place over the months of May, June, and July.
Some outside sports have started.
The May measures included people being able to go out for “unlimited exercise” and being able to play some outdoor sports such as golf, tennis, and fishing whilst social distancing.
However, the WPBSA has been working hard under their 147 Club scheme in partnership with some snooker clubs to keep ahead so they can have a smooth reopening.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Job Retention Scheme has been snapped up by an overwhelming 7 million…
Clubs, such as the Cue Ball Derby have also been making use of some of the measures introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who, at the start of lockdown a few weeks ago announced a major Job Retention Scheme so that employees wouldn’t lose all their wages or employment.
The government announced they would supplement 80% of employees’ income. They have extended that to September/October with the caveat that businesses share the cost.
Some snooker players have adapted to the way they practice during the lockdown…
Across the land, snooker players of all abilities have been practicing on home tables, or, those not lucky enough to have a table, have been finding innovative ways to keep their cue arm going whilst in lockdown.