World Snooker: Milton Keynes to host first eight events of 2020-21 season

Marshall Arena
The Marshall Arena hosted two events in June as snooker returned after lockdown

Milton Keynes will host the first eight snooker events of the 2020-21 season at the Marshall Arena.

The venue staged the Championship League and the Tour Championship in June as the sport returned behind closed doors after lockdown.

Among the competitions that have been moved to the arena are the European Masters, the English Open and the Northern Irish Open.

It is not yet clear if fans will be able to attend the early-season events.

The Marshall Arena has the benefit of on-site accommodation, meaning everyone involved in the tournament can be contained at the complex.

World Snooker argues that, by selecting the venue as the sole host of the eight opening tournaments, it is minimising the risk of any event being cancelled as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact the sporting calendar.

"Every endeavour has been taken to minimise the risk of tournaments being postponed over the coming months," said the governing body.

"Having already successfully held tournaments at the Marshall Arena, we have demonstrated the ability to proceed in a safe manner under lockdown conditions.

"We clearly hope that there will be no need to return to lockdown, at local or national level, but holding these events in Milton Keynes gives us the best possible chance to ensure they are delivered to our broadcasters and partners, as well players and fans."

A small number of fans were allowed into the Crucible for the recent final of the World Championship, after initial plans to use the tournament as a pilot event were paused.

It is hoped that December's UK Championship will be the first of the season to be held outside Milton Keynes, with York's Barbican Centre the planned location.

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