《英伦飞鸿》又采访了世锦赛的赛事总监唐娜·贝雷斯福德 （Donna Beresford）。她也是确保本届赛事顺利进行的关键人物之一，属于核心成员。谈起筹备过程，她感慨介绍到：
Interview with Barry Hearn
We had 300 spectators in for the first day of the World Snooker Championship this year, but the government cancelled an audience attending immediately afterwards, despite the safety measures we put in place. We are now behind closed doors, but there is a chance we may have a small crowd for the final.
The World Championship is the No. 1 event in World Snooker and it is just that this year we are missing a crowd this year and the atmosphere it generates. There was a great crowd atmosphere on day one, but to date no more, but we have a pre-recorded crowd noise for our TV broadcasts.
The players have been able to practice on their own tables, or with social distancing within their own clubs. TV audiences are up, but we do not expect the return of live audiences until the end of October at the earliest.
All our prize money remains at pre Covid 19 levels.
Interview with WST Event Director Donna Beresford.
Just to stage this year’s World Championship, required hours upon hours of planning and preparation. Beresford was right at the heart of this process and was responsible for making these plans a reality.
On the eve of the tournament, all measures were geared towards being one of the first sporting events to welcome a crowd since the coronavirus pandemic caused nationwide lockdowns around the world.
The socially distanced and limited capacity crowd welcomed defending champion Judd Trump into the arena on the opening morning, as he began his Crucible campaign. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) conducted an inspection on that first day and were impressed by the COVID-secure safety measures which had been implemented.
“The first part of the process was making sure everyone could get to their seats. There were 226 individually printed and socially distanced dots laid out in Tudor Square at the front of the Crucible, to facilitate the queues before sessions. Lots of professional drawings were done to ensure everything fitted. Exact templates were used to lay out the dots at the appropriate distance.
“At the same time as implementing these safety measures, we also wanted there to be a bit of a festival feel. We had a musician on site and ice cream vans integrated into the queuing process. Inside the Crucible, the seating plan was meticulously devised to ensure socially distanced seating arrangements. The seats which were out of use have been clearly marked. We had great feedback from the DCMS and fans, it was just unfortunate with the timings that we only had one day with spectators.”
There are lots of beautiful, narrow corridors at the Crucible and controlling the flow of people through them is really important. We have hand sanitisor available all around the building.
“We’ve also had to alter the playing area. The dividing screen between the tables used to be short enough for people to move across from one side to the other. Now it covers the entire length of the arena floor. This means that cameramen, referees and players can operate safely within social distancing guidelines. It basically acts as a big safety screen.
“The number of people on site have been kept as low as possible, whether this be broadcasters, officials or the rigging crew. There are distinctive zones, which only certain people are allowed in. These include the backstage area, front of house and the TV compound. It is all very regimented. All of the staff, players and their guests are subject to our Covid-19 testing regime and if they fail at any point they will be asked to leave.
“The cleaning and sanitising process has been equally regimented. We have roaming cleaners, who sanitise any contact points every 30 minutes. These include door handles, railings anything that people are constantly touching. We’re also using an Ozone machine periodically in all rooms around the venue. This is a special piece of equipment, which purifies the oxygen in a room. The process has to be carried out overnight, as nobody can be in the room while it is happening. The oxygen inside a room is sucked into the machine, it then cleans it using a UV filter and pushes the oxygen back into the room. This allows us to sanitise an area without using chemicals or sprays.”
The sparkling snooker has continued to dazzle inside this highly sanitised environment. Although fans haven’t been present, Beresford and the WST team have done all they can to inject additional atmosphere into this famous venue…