The Masters, snooker’s biggest invitation event, will be staged without a crowd next month.
WST had planned to safely welcome fans in a socially-distanced seating plan at Alexandra Palace in London, for the tournament which runs from January 10th to 17th.
But with tighter Covid-19 restrictions now in place in London and the South East, and following discussions with the UK Government and public health bodies, WST has now accepted that the event must be played behind closed doors.
Alexandra Palace has hosted the Masters since 2011
All ticket holders will have their tickets automatically transferred to the 2022 Masters at the same venue, unless they request a full refund. They will be contacted by email, giving these options, by the ticket provider.
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.
Fans across the globe will be able to watch live coverage on BBC, Eurosport, CCTV, Matchroom.Live and a range of other broadcasters.
WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “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.
“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.”