Snooker is set to return from the coronavirus hiatus at the start of June with the Championship League to be played behind closed doors in Leicester.

There has been no action on the baize since the Gibraltar Open came to an end on 15 March but snooker is going to be one of the first sports to bounce back from the global pandemic with the Championship League running from 1-11 June.

The event will involve 64 players, with a top prize of £20,000, played out at the Morningside Arena in Leicester and broadcast live on ITV, as revealed by the Daily Star.

The Championship League has been on the WST calendar since 2008, always played behind closed doors, and has been contested at four venues in total, moving to the Leicester arena for the most recent edition in 2019/20.

The June event will be a different format to previous ones and will involve numerous safety measures to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Players will have to be tested for tested for coronavirus via a throat swab and come out negative to enter the draw.

They will have to wear masks while in the arena, although not while playing and everyone must stay two metres apart from each other, including the opponent and referee during matches.

Players will bring their own accessories, such as rests, to use.

The field is yet to be confirmed, although not all the top 64 players in the world will be involved, with Mark Williams already saying he won’t be playing.

The three-time world champion tweeted: ‘Too early for me, I won’t be entering.’

‘Phase 1 of these plans will see Championship League Snooker played ‘behind closed doors’ Live on ITV at the Morningside Arena, Leicester from Monday 1 – Thursday 11 June.

‘One small step at a time is the order of the day, so I need to know if you wish to play in this event and I need to know quickly!

‘All players, staff and contractors will be virus tested prior to accessing the venue.

‘Please appreciate we are doing everything in our power to create a safe environment for your return to professional snooker.

‘I would like to believe the whole Tour is behind this initiative, but it remains each players choice as to whether he or she plays in this event.

‘For those players overseas who cannot return to the UK to compete, other playing opportunities are being investigated for you.’

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