Two arrested after World Snooker Championship match disrupted by Just Stop Oil protest

Climate protesters disrupt the snooker match as it was broadcast live (Credit: BBC Sport)

Two arrests have been made after a World Snooker Championship match was disrupted by climate activists.

A Just Stop Oil protester poured orange dye onto a snooker table during the match as it was being broadcast live, forcing play to be suspended.

Two protesters entered the arena shortly after play began, with one leaping onto a table and ripping open a pack of orange dye, which covered the green tabletop and surrounding area.

South Yorkshire Police say they have arrested a 30-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman on suspicion of criminal damage.

The match, at Sheffield's Crucible arena between Robert Milkins and Joe Perry, was stopped for around 45 minutes.

The table after being covered in orange dye. Credit: PA

A second protester was stopped from disrupting the match between Mark Allen and Fan Zhengyi on table two by referee Olivier Marteel.

Play was immediately suspended as cleaners brought vacuum cleaners into the arena and master of ceremonies Rob Walker was among those helping to sweep up the mess.

Former world champion Stephen Hendry, on commentary duties for the BBC, said: "I have never seen that before at a snooker event. It’s a first.

"It is scary. Wow! You just hope the cloth can be recovered from that. It caught us all by surprise and then this happens.

"For me, straight away as a snooker player I am thinking: ‘Is the table recoverable?’ We don’t know what that is on the table."

Just Stop Oil issued a statement saying: "At around 7:20pm, two Just Stop Oil supporters have disrupted the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, interrupting play.

"The pair proceeded to cover the tables in orange powder paint before being removed by security and arrested.

The protester was apprehended by security. Credit: PA

"They are demanding that the Government immediately stop all new UK fossil fuel projects and are calling on UK sporting institutions to step into civil resistance against the government’s genocidal policies."

World Snooker Tour officials confirmed that the match between Allen and Zhengyi was set to resume after a delay of approximately 45 minutes.

The affected table was covered and will be re-clothed overnight, with a decision to be made later on whether the match between Milkins and Perry will resume following the conclusion of Allen-Zhengyi.

South Yorkshire Police said a 30-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and are in police custody.

The force said in a statement: “Two people were detained after protesters gained entry to The Crucible earlier this evening.

“A 30-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. Both are in police custody.”

Play was suspended for the evening on the affected table, which will be re-covered overnight.

It is the second time in three days that a major international sporting event has been disrupted, after 118 people were arrested at Aintree on Saturday as they tried to scale the perimeter fence at the Grand National horse-racing event.

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