Ronnie O’Sullivan withdraws from Championship League Snooker


Ronnie O’Sullivan will not be playing in Milton Keynes on Monday (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan has withdrawn from the Championship League where he was due to play on Monday in Milton Keynes.

The Rocket has changed his mind about playing in the event at the Marshall Arena as he doesn’t want to have to adhere to the regulations of the bubble environment at the tournament.

Players have been arriving the day before they play and they must be tested for Covid-19 before isolating in a hotel room as they await the result.

A statement from Matchroom multi-sport read: ‘Ronnie O’Sullivan has informed us that he wishes to withdraw from Championship League Snooker as he does not wish to enter the event bubble.’

The world champion was due to compete in a group with Li Hang, Alex Borg and Iulian Boiko and he will be replaced by John Astley.

The 44-year-old’s season as world champ is not going to plan so far after being beaten in the second round of the European Masters by 18-year-old Aaron Hill and now pulling out of the Championship League.

It means his next involvement should be at the English Open, where he will play Brian Ochoiski on 12 October, again in Milton Keynes.

O’Sullivan played in the bubble environment in the edition of the Championship League in June and was not a fan of it, saying that if those protocols continue he would not play many events this season, as he had planned to do so.

‘No ones knows what’s going to happen, but if that’s the protocol I’m going to have to make a sharp U-turn and minimise the events I play in,’ O’Sullivan told Metro.co.uk in July.

‘There’s no sustainability living that sort of lifestyle for me.

‘If they was going to put us in a 5* hotel, 5* food, a nice running track out the back, you’ve got a nice hotel where you can open your veranda, I could deal with that, I could have that 48 weeks a year.

‘But when they want to stick you in MK Dons football ground, where you can’t open your window and I come out in spots and boils because I haven’t had any fresh air…

‘My idea of going to a tournament is having comfortable surroundings. If I can’t control the controlables, the time between your matches and how you manage that, if that’s taken away from you, for me, that’s not how I live my life.

‘I play maybe three times a week for a couple of hours, if that, and the rest of my life is spent in fresh air and keeping fit, enjoying my life.’

O’Sullivan has been replaced by John Astley (Picture: REX)

The six-time world champion also said he was made to feel vulnerable by two players – Gary Wilson and Daniel Wells – testing positive for Covid-19 at the recent European Masters.

‘To be honest it just made me feel even more vulnerable than I already did at the venue,’ he told the Sun.

‘You know the guys that either failed or came into contact with them have also come into contact with other people.

‘So there is an extra thought of ‘keep your distance, here’ because for all you know one day there could be 50 per cent of people that have got it.

‘You really have got to do the tests, stay away, wear your mask and keep sanitising your hands.

‘I am very paranoid about it — I have had people that have died around me and seen healthy people get really ill.’

MORE: Mark Davis approaches 30 years in snooker but is nowhere near finished yet

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