The Hong Kong native is a former world semi-finalist at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
Marco Fu has become the highest-profile name so far to announce his decision to not enter this year’s World Championship.
Originally scheduled for its usual slot in April and May, the flagship tournament has been moved to the end of July and into August as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Snooker has been one of the fastest returning sports in the UK, following the lifting of restrictions at the beginning of this month.
The Championship League – a non-ranking event held behind closed doors amid numerous guidelines – was successfully staged earlier in June.
Belgium’s Luca Brecel emerged as the champion, but the majority of the 64-player field consisted of competitors from the UK.
With an enforced quarantine upon arrival into the country now necessary, as well as continued travel difficulties worldwide, it was inevitable that several international players would struggle to reach Sheffield next month.
China’s Ding Junhui had already made the decision to withdraw from next week’s Tour Championship in Milton Keynes.
But WST will surely be concerned that a player of Fu’s status has already opted to skip the blue-riband World Championship itself – even though there’s more than a month left until it officially commences.
WST and the WPBSA have been insistent in their efforts to ensure that all tour members would be able to compete in this season’s postponed edition.
Yet, there remains plenty of obstacles to overcome in order for a significant section of the tour to be able to participate in the qualifiers that have been pencilled in for the middle of July at the English Institute of Sport.
Feeling unsafe to travel to the UK at this moment, so sadly l’ve decided to pull out of this year’s World Championship
— Marco Fu (@Marcofu18) June 18, 2020
Fu, a World Championship semi-finalist in 2006 and 2016, said: “Feeling unsafe to travel to the UK at this moment, so sadly I’ve decided to pull out of this year’s World Championship.”
Despite efforts to return to normality, the UK has yet to get to grips with the coronavirus situation with more than one thousand cases still a regular daily occurrence.
Whether this will be the first of many withdrawals remains to be seen, but this type of announcement could become more commonplace.
Snooker’s authorities are in a difficult position in that they, somewhat understandably, want to get on with the sport, but it isn’t just as straightforward as simply getting the events back on the calendar.
Yes you’ve guessed it – I can imagine several identical announcements in the next two weeks. It will be intersting to see if any of the Thai players can make it to Sheffield.
As yet we don’t exactly know the WC qualifying schedule. If 24 players withdraw, that will leave 72 matches in the first 6 days which could ease the schedule.
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