Players treated like lab rats, says O'Sullivan

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 31 Jul 2020

Ronnie O'Sullivan claims snooker stars are being treated like "lab rats" at the world championship over the decision to allow spectators into the event.

O'Sullivan launched his attack on the plan after asthma-suffering fellow player Anthony Hamilton said he fears for his health at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre.

The championship, which starts today, is one of three sports events in Britain used to test the safe return of fans in the coronavirus pandemic.

"They're treating this snooker event like lab rats really, so what can you do? You can sit here and complain and say it isn't right, but it is what it is," O'Sullivan, who will start his campaign against Thailand's Thepchaiya Un-Nooh on Sunday, said.

The five-timeworldchampion suggested that tests be done on the crowds as well as players in future.

World Snooker Tour stressed safety was of "paramount concern" and that the choice of the Crucible to stage the first indoor event with an audience constituted a "fantastic triumph."

Spectators must undergo a series of strict protocols prior and during their visit, including signing a code of conduct and wearing face masks.

O'Sullivan was competing despite his belief that it was "not a risk worth taking" . But he said he was being "very careful" because his mother is deemed "high risk."

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