With the end of 2020 almost upon us, WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer QPM has written an open letter to all of our players as we target a return to competition in 2021…
As 2020 comes to a close I am writing to update you as to the current position and of our hopes and aspirations for a return to competition in the New Year.
This year has been one that none of us will ever forget due to the coronavirus pandemic and the impact that this has had upon all our daily lives. First and foremost, I hope that you and your families have been able to stay safe and well during this most unusual time.
Little did any of us know as we left Bruges back in March following a fantastic weekend of snooker at the Belgian Open that the event would be our last of the year, with the UK entering its first lockdown barely two weeks after the final balls were potted.
Following four fantastic years of growth, it has undoubtedly been frustrating for the whole WDBS team to see our progress paused as it has been this year. However, both the government restrictions in place – of which we are all familiar – and most importantly our primary concern of protecting you, our team and venue staff, have left us with no alternative but to suspend competition this year.
I would, however, like to reassure you that WDBS events will return and that as we head into 2021 I am pleased to report that there are reasons to be hopeful for the future. Most obviously, the approval of a vaccine for the virus within the UK represents a significant step towards a return to normality. Although it is very early days and will inevitably take time for this to be rolled out on a widespread basis, it is nevertheless a welcome development that we should celebrate.
Furthermore, the expected wider availability of lower cost COVID-19 testing, combined with the hope that restrictions will be relaxed over the coming months with spring and the warmer weather to come, will also help us. Our friends at World Seniors Snooker will in January hold the first open-entry amateur tournament across the WPBSA Group since the onset of the pandemic. That event will operate in a bubble environment with COVID-19 testing in place and the venue closed to the public during the event, a model that we will follow with interest.
You will no doubt appreciate the challenges faced not only by WDBS, but across amateur snooker and indeed amateur sport as a whole during this unprecedented situation. The current restrictions mean that it remains difficult to plan with certainty as to exactly when we will be able to return and it may be that initial tournaments will have run under a different format to be able to operate in a Covid-secure manner. Any major changes will of course be communicated through our Player Representatives.
But there is clear light at the end of the tunnel, and we will be back as soon as it is safe and viable to stage an event. I and the whole team are looking forward to seeing you again now more than ever.
I hope that all of you and your families enjoy a wonderful festive period and that we will see you back on the baize in 2021.
Nigel Mawer QPM