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Snooker's World Championship given July start after virus delay

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London (AFP)

The World Snooker Championship has been rescheduled to start in July after being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, governing body World Snooker Tour (WST) said on Wednesday.

The sport's premier tournament was originally scheduled to open in Sheffield last week, but it is now set to run between July 31 and August 16, subject to British government guidelines on the health crisis.

"The world is going through a very challenging period but live sport can be a massive inspiration for the public and can boost morale. This gives fans of top class sport something on their calendar to look ahead to and enjoy for 17 days," WST chairman Barry Hearn said.

The Crucible Theatre which hosts the tournament has a capacity of just under 1,000, but it could be played with a reduced crowd, behind closed doors or even postponed again depending on government advice.

The World Championship was won last year by top-ranked Judd Trump, who thrashed Scotland's John Higgins 18-9 in the final.

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