Sport continues behind closed doors in UK

Frustrated sports fans are set to miss out after the return of spectators on a pilot basis was scrapped by UK prime minister Boris Johnson.

Snooker’s World Championship, which began in front of a reduced audience on Friday, will resume at an empty Crucible in Sheffield following new restrictions in the wake of a spike in coronavirus cases.

Thousands of people planning to attend Saturday’s racing at Glorious Goodwood have also been thwarted, while a couple of county cricket matches will take place behind closed doors.

The new restrictions on fans will be enforced until at least August 15th.

World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn, who saw defending champion Judd Trump progress from his first-round match on Friday, is ready to enact contingency plans.

“It leaves us on Plan B, we are going to be resilient, we’ll get through as we always will and Plan B is to revert to, from tomorrow, behind closed doors,” Hearn told the BBC.

“There is a chance, I’m ever the optimist, a return for the final, in the meantime, I’m gutted, of course.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Thousands of spectators had been expected at Goodwood in West Sussex (Edward Whitaker/PA)</figcaption>
Thousands of spectators had been expected at Goodwood in West Sussex (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“The work the team has done… an amazing job getting this ready and they must feel terribly deflated. From day one we followed every single safety guideline, we have a new guideline and we follow that as well.”

Speaking earlier on Friday, Johnson said: “Pilots of crowds at sports events will now not take place.”

A joint statement from the racecourse, the British Horseracing Authority and the Racecourse Association read: “The racing on Saturday will continue behind closed doors as it has on the earlier days of the festival.

Mass gatherings have been banned since March following the onset of the pandemic in the UK.

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