The world number two was due to constest his first-round group on Monday in Milton Keynes.
Ronnie O’Sullivan has withdrawn from the Championship League after deciding he doesn’t want to restrict himself to an isolation bubble during the event.
The world champion was scheduled to feature in Group 32 of the competition on the last day of the first stage, which has been played out over the course of more than two weeks since last month.
O’Sullivan was in line to face rookie teenager Iulian Boiko in addition to established professionals Li Hang and Alex Borg.
However, the 37-time ranking event winner has opted against participating as it would be too much of a struggle for him to put up with the restrictions if he were to make it through to the final week of the tournament at the end of October.
The “Rocket” has made one appearance so far this season since capturing a sixth World Championship crown in August – at the European Masters in September when he lost to Ireland’s Aaron Hill in the last 32.
Following the withdrawal of O’Sullivan, John Astley has now been given the opportunity to compete in the Championship League instead on the back of his performances in Q School.
O’Sullivan has entered the English Open, which is due to begin in just over a week in Milton Keynes again, but whether or not he’ll actually participate in the first Home Nations series event of the campaign remains to be seen.
The Championship League, meanwhile, is nearing the end of its first phase with 28 out of the 32 second-phase competitors now known.
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Featured photo credit: WST