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Fans at snooker worlds 'unnecessary risk,' O'Sullivan says

SHEFFIELD, England (AP) — The decision to allow spectators for the world snooker championship has been deemed an “unnecessary risk” by the sport’s most famous player. The event was chosen last week as one of the few to stress-test the British government’s guidance on the return of fans to elite sports.

The world championship will take place at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield from July 31 and will be the first indoor event to allow spectators, with organizers saying a “limited number” of people will attend every session.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, a five-time world champion, said “having people there but not enough people doesn’t look good.” “Either pack it out and say we don’t actually care,” O’Sullivan told the BBC, “or just go, ‘We aren’t having anyone.’”

O’Sullivan said he would be happy for sporting events to be staged without spectators until 2021. “I just think it’s an unnecessary risk. I just don’t think you want to be putting people’s lives at risk,” he said. “You look at the NHS and you think this is like a war at the moment and it’s those people who have been flat out, and you watch what they go through, and anything to take the stress off them is paramount.”

O’Sullivan said he will assess how he feels when he gets to the Crucible and would pull out of the event if he feels “very, very uncomfortable.”

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