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In an answer to a Parliamentary Question and with updated COVID guidance published yesterday (6 July), Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston MP confirmed snooker clubs in England may reopen.
The news comes after the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Snooker, working with the WPBSA and EPSB, have been liaising with government to seek clarity on snooker clubs’ reopening.
The question, tabled by Harlow MP and APPG for Snooker Member, Robert Halfon on 1 July, asked the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, “what his timescale is for the reopening of snooker clubs as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.”
In his written answer published yesterday, the Sports Minister said “Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. Snooker clubs have been allowed to open since 4 July, as long as they can follow the COVID-secure guidelines.”
Guidance updated on 6 July lists snooker “halls” in England as one type of business that may reopen, as long as they following COVID-19 Secure guidelines.
English clubs should work with the EPSB to ensure compliance with the guidelines and contact their local authority or health and safety body if they have specific questions.
Group Chairman, Karl McCartney MP, whose Lincoln constituency contains six snooker clubs, said of the news “I am very pleased that yesterday’s announcement clarified snooker clubs may now reopen alongside other businesses that were allowed to open on 4 July.
“Club owners, their staff, and all at the EPSB have been working incredibly hard to ensure their facilities meet COVID-19 guidance and it is testament to them that snooker can now return and be enjoyed.
“I am grateful to my colleague the Sports Minister for his response to the question, and the update to the government’s guidance yesterday.”
For more information about snooker in England, including guidance on playing safely, visit www.epsb.co.uk.
An informal Ordinary Meeting of the Group took place on 14 July online to hear from representatives of the Home Nation Governing Bodies.
The Co-Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Snooker, Lincoln MP Karl McCartney has spoken about the impressive response by WPBSA to the restrictions required in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Snooker comprises MPs and Peers from any political party and exists solely to support the sport of snooker. It works closely with the WPBSA to promote the sport and challenge issues it faces, including COVID-19.
Karl McCartney MP said: “Snooker is a huge global sport, particularly in China. As a global governing body, the WPBSA was therefore necessarily ahead of many national NGBs and had already seen the impact of the restrictions imposed.
“The APPG has been in regular contact with the WPBSA and has received its excellent guidance documentation for snooker to return as soon as specific restrictions are lifted. I have sent that draft guidance today to the Sports Minister so he is aware and will, hopefully, ensure snooker as a playable sport will be able to return swiftly.”
The APPG has been receiving regular updates from the WPBSA and McCartney and co-Chairman, Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith, will be joining a meeting with directors next week to discuss the sports’ ongoing response to current circumstances.
McCartney continued, “At times like this, you see the best in people. Snooker is more than just a sport; it is hugely important for people of all ages throughout the UK. I have seen how hard the staff at WPBSA have been working to ensure the sport of snooker is in a position to return as soon as possible. They should be congratulated on their response.”
A Motion has been tabled in the UK Parliament to celebrate Reanne Evans winning her twelfth World Women’s Snooker Championship.
Reanne won her first world title in 2005 and has won World Women’s Snooker Tour ranking events during every year since, including a record ten consecutive years as world champion from 2005-2014. Her most recent victory came when she defeated Thailand’s Nutcharut Wongharuthai 6-3, defying her opponent’s home soil advantage to claim the title for the first time since 2016.
Speaking on behalf of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, Chairman Jason Ferguson said “Reanne is an incredibly talented player and fully deserves recognition as one of the leading international sportswomen in our country. Snooker is a fully inclusive sport throughout the world but does struggle in the UK to receive the recognition it does elsewhere. We are very pleased to see that Parliamentarians have honoured Reanne in this way and encourage them to continue their pursuit of suitable funding for snooker in Britain.”
The Motion was tabled by Reanne’s local Member of Parliament, Ian Austin MP. On tabling the Motion, he said “I am so pleased for Reanne. It’s an incredible achievement for anyone to become a sporting world champion. To do so twelve times is staggering. To do so facing competitors who are fully-funded by their national sporting bodies is unbelievable. Reanne is a ambassador for the game, and for womens sport and she – and the game of snooker – deserves the kind of recognition other sports in this country achieve, and other snooker players get elsewhere. Well done Reanne!”
The full Motion reads:
TWELVE-TIME SNOOKER WORLD CHAMPION REANNE EVANS
That this House congratulates Reanne Evans on the outstanding achievement of winning her 12th World Women’s Snooker Championship; notes that her 19-year-old opponent in the final is fully funded by her national sports ministry in order to compete alongside male players; recognises that snooker is one of the world’s true mixed-gender sports where men and women from all backgrounds can play alongside and against each other; acknowledges that snooker is a great traditional British sport; and encourages those responsible for funding grassroots and professional sport across the UK to support snooker in order to continue to generate the talent exhibited by Reanne.
Members of the UK Parliament are celebrating Scotland winning the 2019 Snooker World Cup with a Motion tabled in the House of Commons that recognises the achievement of John Higgins and Stephen Maguire who secured the trophy for Scotland for the first time in 13 years, defeating Wales and two Chinese teams in quick succession on their route to victory.
The Motion was tabled by Gavin Newlands, Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire North and Vice-Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Snooker. He said “it is a wonderful to see the Snooker World Cup return to Scotland, and to for John and Stephen to do so against such solid international teams makes it all the sweeter. John and Stephen are both national and world champions in their own right, so are a formidable duo. Scottish Members of Parliament are rightly very proud of their achievement.”
The full text of the Motion reads:
SCOTLAND SNOOKER WORLD CHAMPIONS 2019
That this House congratulates Scotland’s winning Snooker World Cup team; recognises the achievement of John Higgins and Stephen Maguire in securing the trophy for Scotland for the first time in 13 years; praises the high standard of snooker on display from the Scottish team; notes that en route to their win Scotland defeated Wales and two Chinese teams in quick succession; further notes John Higgins’s four World Championship and three UK Championship victories, making him a true master of the modern snooker era; acknowledges Stephen Maguire’s UK Championship victory as well as four semi-final appearances and two World Championship semi-final appearances; and welcomes the first Snooker World Cup victory by a European team since 1996.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Snooker is committed to supporting snooker in all its forms. Snooker is one of the few sports where women and girls can and do play alongside their male counterparts at all levels.
Rebecca Kenna, who recently took the decision to step down from playing in her local league after not being allowed to play in two men-only clubs, is one of the UK’s most talented snooker players.
The Group believes that being prevented from playing in a club because of gender is archaic and it fully supports her and the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association in their making the game open to all. We recognise this as a fairly isolated incident, and not something that is widespread across the UK.
Member of Parliament for Keighley, John Grogan, has spoken with the local league. Afterwards, he said: “this issue is around two clubs of seventeen restricting access to women players, meaning they cannot participate in a thriving local league. The other fifteen clubs in the league welcome women players and the league itself welcomes all comers to take part in their local competitions. They have my and the Group’s full support in taking steps to encourage the two clubs clubs to change their rules and agree to welcome women players. I will be inviting Rebecca and other women in snooker to Parliament to see where we can help.”
Group Chairman, Conor Burns, Member of Parliament for Bournemouth West added: “For Rebecca and other female players to be prevented from taking part in a league that is open to all is discriminatory, and it means the players in those clubs are prevented from taking part in matches against a very talented snooker player. I and the Group encourage those clubs to reconsider their position, and quickly.”
The Group will write to the clubs in question on their position, as well as send letters of support to the local league, the English Association of Snooker and Billiards, and the international governing bodies World Women’s Snooker and World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, all of whom have made their position on female participation in snooker very clear.
All-Party Parliamentary Group for Snooker Chair, Conor Burns MP, has tabled a written parliamentary question to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Following the conclusion of the 2019 Dafabet Masters at Alexandra Palace, London, the question raises the economic benefits that major snooker tournaments deliver to host cities and towns in the United Kingdom.
In addition to the Masters, a number of major tournaments will be held across the UK in 2019, including the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield, and the UK Championship in York.
Research conducted by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre in 2017 found that the World Snooker Championship had boosted Sheffield’s economy by £100m over the 40 years the tournament had been held at the Crucible Theatre since 1977.
Speaking after tabling the question, the All-Party Parliamentary Group Chair and Member of Parliament for Bournemouth West, Conor Burns MP, said “following the conclusion of the Masters, it is a good time to reflect on the significant economic benefits that major snooker tournaments deliver to their host towns and cities.
“I hope that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will recognise the contribution that snooker events make to the economy, and that the department will do more to support this fantastic sport.”
The full question is as follows:
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport what assessment his department has made of the economic benefits that major snooker tournaments deliver to host cities and towns across the United Kingdom.