The World Snooker Association (WPBSA) has confirmed that "serveral" players have pulled out of this year's World Snooker Championships.
The tournament at the Crucible is rescheduled to begin on 31 July after being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is understood that all of the players who have decided to withdraw are outside of the world's top 16 players which means that they would have been due to take part in the qualifying rounds that take place from 21 - 28 July in Sheffield.
"Several players have indicated that they have decided not to travel to the UK and the draw for the qualifying rounds will be made after the entry deadline which falls on 6 July," read the World Snooker Tour statement which outlines how it plans to replace the players:
- The eight players competing in the Challenge Tour Play-Off event, to be staged on July 20.
- The top eight players from the 2019 Q School ranking list.
- (If required) players invited by the WPBSA.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson insists that the governing body did all that it could to ensure that all those who wanted to compete at the game's biggest event, could.
“Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic we have worked tirelessly to ensure that every player has the chance to play in the Betfred World Championship," said Ferguson.
"We knew this would be a huge task in the climate, but not an impossible one – and we have now reached a point where players can make their own choice.
"We have done everything we can to support our playing membership.
"We appreciate that a small number have indicated their decision not to come to the UK, but the vast majority will compete and, without question, the show must go on."
He added, "We are a global sport and the tournament will have a field of players from around the planet.
"We have provided assistance to many of them with visa and travel documentation, some are already in the UK and are ready to play."
Former world number five Marco Fu, currently ranked 50th, is one of the players to withdraw and it has been reported in China that up to ten players have opted out.
Former finalist Ding Junhui has indicated his desire to play along with the other Chinese player in the top 16, Yan Bingtao who is based in Sheffield.
Three-time women’s world champion Ng On-yee and men's world number 22 Zhou Yuelong are also reported to have withdrawn.
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