The Masters snooker tournament will be staged without a crowd next month
The Masters snooker tournament, which features an elite field of the world's top 16 players, must now be played behind closed doors at London's Alexandra Palace following tighter coronavirus restrictions being put in place
Last Updated: 24/12/20 3:40pm
Alexandra Palace will play host to snooker's Masters tournament without spectators in January after tighter COVID-19 restrictions were put in place.
World Snooker Tour (WST) chairman Barry Hearn had hoped to safely welcome fans in a socially-distanced seating plan for the tournament, which runs from January 10th to 17th.
But with strict coronavirus restrictions now in place in London and the South East, and following discussions with the UK Government and public health bodies, the WST accepts that the event must be played behind closed doors.
"This decision will come as a huge disappointment to the fans who had tickets and were looking forward to experiencing this extraordinary event. It's also frustrating for the players, who have missed the thrill of playing in front of their supporters. But as always we must keep the health and safety of everyone connected with our events at the top of our priorities," said Hearn.
"We will continue to explore opportunities to safety welcome fans back to our events and I fully believe that 2021 will be a fantastic year for snooker."
One of snooker's Triple Crown events, the Masters features an elite field of the world's top 16 players.
Stuart Bingham will be defending the title against the sport's biggest names including Judd Trump, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, John Higgins and many more.
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