World Snooker Championship: Culture Secretary confirms Crucible capacity to increase to 50%

The capacity of the event had been limited to a third in the first round.

The Culture Secretary has confirmed that the capacity for the World Snooker Championships can increase to 50%.

Oliver Dowden said that the first part of the pilot event for testing covid-secure crowds had been "successful" and that he hoped the crowd size could continue to grow throughout the tournament.

The first round of the Sheffield-based championship had a crowd of a third, with all spectators needing to test negative on either the day of or the day before they visited The Crucible to be allowed entry.

Spectators also have to be tested five days after they attended the event.

Under the current plans, the crowd size will increase to 75% for the quarter and semi-finals, before having a full capacity crowd of 980 people.

People will not be expected to social distance as the crowd size grows, but they will be required to wear a face mask and submit details to NHS Test and Trace.

The championships are one of several planned covid pilot tests over the next months as the government looks to open up society further.

The second round of the tournament gets underway this afternoon with defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan taking on Anthony McGill in a best of 25 frames contest.