World Snooker Tour has confirmed that the first eight events of the new season are to take place at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.

This includes the Northern Ireland Open, which is scheduled to run in the third week of November.

The sport's government body said they took the step to try to limit the chances of tournaments being cancelled as a result of an increase in coronavirus case numbers in a given area.

"Every endeavour has been taken to minimise the risk of tournaments being postponed over the coming months," they confirmed in a statement.

"Having already successfully held tournaments at the Marshall Arena, we have demonstrated the ability to proceed in a safe manner under lockdown conditions.

"We clearly hope that there will be no need to return to lockdown, at local or national level, but holding these events in Milton Keynes gives us the best possible chance to ensure they are delivered to our broadcasters and partners, as well players and fans."

Ronnie O'Sullivan won the World Championships earlier this month at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, with the tournament having been moved from its usual April-May slot as a result of the pandemic.

Audiences were allowed to attend in limited numbers on the first day of play, before the UK government changed the rules on the so-called "pilot events," which appeared to mean no spectators for the rest of the competition.

However a small crowd was allowed back in for the two days of the final.

Earlier this week, Ken Doherty was handed an invitational tour card for the next two seasons having fallen outside the world's top-64 rankings.

It's the second time in five years that the 1997 World Champion has been offered such a reprieve, which prevented the need for him to have to attempt to win a new tour card at the Q School.