RONNIE O’SULLIVAN reckons all Crucible fans should be vaccinated against Covid as he reveals his mum’s battle with the deadly virus.
The Rocket won a sixth Betfred World Snooker Championship last August but 14 out of 17 days of action were held behind-closed-doors.
Next month’s worlds, which start on April 17, are set to have about 300 spectators per session after snooker boss Barry Hearn secured test pilot status in line with government guidelines.
Punters may have to provide a negative test ahead of the event, adhere to an agreed code of behaviour and provide contact details for Test and Trace in case there is an outbreak.
Protocols are still being drawn up but it is not thought vaccinations will be a compulsory requirement for everyone at the event in Sheffield.
However O’Sullivan, 45, reckons snooker lovers should only be permitted entry if they have received a coronavirus jab.
The world No.2 said: “It’ll be nice to have some crowds in. Hopefully they’re all vaccinated-up. Maybe have a vaccine passport.
“I’d imagine that would be part of the new criteria if you’re to go into any indoors event.
“There will be a few people who have been double jabbed-up and looking forward to get some tickets.
“We’ve had a year now to understand the illness and everybody knows – no matter who you are, you don’t want to be put in a dangerous situation.
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I’d imagine it would be more sensible and wise if people are allowed in that they were less likely to be passing on a deadly disease.
“No matter what your age. I’d imagine it would be much more sensible and wise if people are allowed in that they were less likely to be passing on a deadly disease.
“You’d like to think that would probably be a standard sort of baseline of making that decision.
“We know a lot more about it now. We all know people that have had it."
Throughout the lockdowns, O’Sullivan has taken great care at snooker tournaments to avoid catching Covid, especially after his mum Maria became seriously ill.
O’Sullivan said: “My mum had it really bad. There was a time when I thought she might not make it through.
“I'm a lot more respectful of what Covid can do to you, no matter your age. We know it’s not the flu.
“If it gets on the lungs then you are in trouble. I'm sure everyone involved in snooker and sport, they wouldn’t want to put anybody at risk, if they value someone’s life
“My mum has come out of the other end of it. But it was pretty scary just to see it. You think: 'Wow, unbelievable, what Covid can do'.”
A World Snooker Tour statement said: “We’re working closely with Government, Sheffield City Council and the Crucible Theatre on plans for the attendance of fans at the Betfred World Championship.
“This has been selected as part of the science-led Events Research Programme.
“We’re proud to have been chosen as a pilot event and it will be fantastic for the players to be able to experience the unique atmosphere which a crowd at the Crucible can create.
“As always, the players can be assured that health and safety is the highest priority.”
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