Snooker will become the first professional sport to return in Britain with an 11-day free-to-air televised tournament to begin on June 1.
Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen and Kyren Wilson are among those confirmed to take part in Championship League Snooker, which will see 64 of the world’s best players battle for a top prize of £30,000 at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
All players, staff and contractors must return a negative coronavirus test prior to entering the venue, which has been selected because there is accommodation on site.
Players and referees will be told to keep two metres apart where possible, while they must use hand sanitiser before games and refrain from shaking hands during the tournament, which will be shown on ITV4.
“Players who have any doubts about their own welfare can rest assured that all precautions are being taken,” said Barry Hearn, World Snooker Tour chairman.
“I am confident that there is no other major sport which can meet health and safety criteria on isolation and social distancing as stringently as snooker can, so we are able to return more quickly than others.”
ITV’s snooker coverage will be coordinated remotely, with presenter Jill Douglas and other on-screen pundits operating from their homes, while commentators David Hendon, Phil Yates and Dominic Dale will cover the event from the venue.
Horse racing also plans on resuming action with a meeting behind closed doors at Newcastle on June 1, which starts a few hours after Championship League Snooker begins.
“During the challenging times of the past few weeks we have examined the opportunities which still exist and worked relentlessly towards the goal of getting our tour going again,” said Hearn. “While most other sports remain sidelined, we are ready to return from June 1. This sends out a message to the sporting world that snooker is at the forefront of innovation.
“We will be the first major sport to get back to live televised action. That’s not by chance, it’s because of the hard work and preparation we have done during the lockdown.”
The World Snooker Championship has been rescheduled to run from July 31 to August 16 at its usual home in Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.