THE first round matches at next month's UK Snooker Championship will take place in Milton Keynes rather than York.

The World Snooker Tour have stated that Milton Keynes' Marshall Arena shall host first round matches from November 23 to 26 "in order to align with UK Government social distancing guidelines."

The remainder of the tournament, from November 28 to December 6, will then take place at the York Barbican.

The venue has hosted the Triple Crown event since 2011, having previously done so from 2001 to 2006.

WST added: "The decision as to whether an audience will be allowed at the Barbican has not yet been made.

"WST will inform ticketholders as soon as plans have been finalised."

Barry Hearn, chairman of the WST, said: “In these difficult times we are working relentlessly to keep our tour going.

“We will continue to explore all avenues in terms of staging events and providing access for live fans, while keeping health and safety as our top priority.”