17 July 2020

Snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan threatens to pull out of world championships if fans are allowed in

Ronnie O’Sullivan has claimed he may pull out of the World Snooker Championships later this month if fans are allowed in to watch.

The 17-day event gets underway on July 31 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, with organisers still hoping some spectators may be allowed in to the 980-capacity arena.

O'Sullivan has not won the world championships since 2013 (PA)

But O’Sullivan, who is never shy in saying what he thinks about the formation of the tour, is strongly against the idea.

He said: "If they start bringing in crowds in, even if it is only a couple of hundred, I wouldn’t feel good about that.

"And I think to the point where it would even affect my willingness to participate.

"I don’t think there should be any crowds in an indoor area until at least 2021 and, to me, it seems insane that we are even talking about it."

Organisers are going ahead with the event ahead under strict hygiene measures and COVID-19 testing.

O’Sullivan has lifted the world championship trophy five times before in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2013.

But he has failed to reach the final since losing to Mark Selby in 2014, a record he will be looking to improve in a couple of weeks time.

The Rocket returned to the world No 1 spot for the first time since 2010 last year, but has now slipped back down to No 6.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox