A capacity crowd is expected to be able to attend the final of the 2021 World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre, organisers have confirmed.

The Sheffield tournament will be the first sporting competition included in Government plans for a pilot programme enabling the safe return of mass gatherings and indoor events as lockdown restrictions ease in England.

The World Snooker Tour provided an update for ticket holders on Wednesday setting out plans for the event, which runs from April 17 to May 3.

All of those attending will have to take a Covid-19 test before they arrive, and must show confirmation of a negative result to enter the venue, as well as having another five days afterwards at home.

Capacity will be set at 33 per cent for the first round, from April 17 to 21. There will be ‘1m+’ social distancing observed between different ticket groups/bookings, while face coverings will have to be worn inside, including when sat down in the theatre.

The number of spectators will be increased to 50 per cent for the second-round matches from April 22, increasing to 75 per cent for both the quarter-finals and semi-finals.

Snooker fans arrive at the Crucible Theatre
Snooker fans are expected to be back at the Crucible Theatre later this month (Tim Goode/PA)

The WST said social distancing “will not be expected under this capacity although some mitigation procedures will be required to reduce the risk of transmission including wearing face coverings in the venue”.

For the final on May 2 and 3, it is hoped the venue “will operate without any capacity restriction” at around 980 seats, with organisers accepting “it will not be possible to avoid different parties sitting alongside one another”.

Social distancing measures would also not be expected, although “mitigation procedures” such as wearing face coverings in the venue could be necessary.

Under the pilot scheme, no children will be allowed at The Crucible, only those over 18.

Ronnie O'Sullivan at The Crucible
Ronnie O’Sullivan will be bidding for a seventh title this year (Nigel French/PA)

Any adults deemed clinically extremely vulnerable or who are pregnant will also not be permitted to attend, so will be offered either the option to transfer their ticket to the 2022 tournament or claim a full refund.

Ronnie O’Sullivan will be bidding for a seventh title when he defends his Crucible crown, which he won with victory over Kyren Wilson in August.

The delayed 2020 tournament had initially been open to fans on the first day.

However, it then went behind closed doors amid tighter coronavirus restrictions before a limited number of spectators were eventually allowed back in for the final two days of the championship when O’Sullivan defeated Wilson 18-8.