Crucible 2019 – Barry Hearn’s announcements

As customary on the second Wednesday of the World Championship Barry Hearn came up with a number of announcements.

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn held a press conference at the Crucible on Wednesday.

Here are the key points:

Betfred’s sponsorship of the World Championship will continue until at least 2021. For more on that news, click here.

There will be four extra World Snooker Tour cards available at 2019 Q School. The semi-finalists of the three events will receive 12 of those, with the other four to go to the next four highest players on the Q School Order of Merit. There will be 128 players on the 2019/20 Tour.

Jimmy White has been given a two-year tour card in respect of his undisputed services to snooker.

The structure for the qualifying rounds of the Betfred World Championship will change next year as follows:

There will be 16 amateurs invited by WPBSA. They will join players ranked 81-128 in round one. Those 64 players play each other, with the 32 winners going into round two.

Round two: those 32 winners will face players ranked 49-80.

Round three: those 32 winners will face players ranked 17-48.

Round four: those 32 winners play each other, with the 16 winners going through to the Crucible to face the top 16 seeds.

Total prize money for the 2020 Betfred World Championship will go up to £2.4 million, with the winner to receive £500,000.

Next season, a new £1 million bonus for 147 breaks will be introduced. If there are 20 (or more) maximums in a season, the bonus will be triggered and the £1 million will be shared between the players who made 147s. A player making more than one of those 20 would receive a proportional share, for example if he made two 147s and there were 20 in total, he would receive £100,000. This replaces the previous ‘rolling prize’ system.

So what do we make of it?

Two more years of Betfred sponsorship – OK

Four more tour cards to be gained via the Q-school – OK

Jimmy White getting another 2 years invitational card – fine by me but will ruffle a few feathers

World Championship qualifiers going back to a tiered system – well, well, well … after stating and hammering that the flat draw is the future there we are. Personally I’m pleased. It rewards the better players who will have less matches to play. It will also make the draw less random, and we will see less complete mismatches. It will give lower ranked players a more winnable first round match and allow more of them to earn something for their efforts. All that is very good. That’s 112 matches to be played in qualifiers, same as it is now. It will however be one more match to win for the lowest ranked players and just the two for the 17-48. – Great

The one million bonus to be shared amongst the “maximum men/women” provided there are at least 20 during the season… that reminds me of the one million bonus offered if a player wins all four of the Home Nations. It’s not gonna happen. The most we ever had in one season is 13… I’m not sure that 20 is a realistic target, and I’m not sure that players will be that excited, or bothered to try. Basically that’s the rolling prize for a maxi gone to pot…  – Boooooh!

2 thoughts on “Crucible 2019 – Barry Hearn’s announcements

  1. Getting rid of the prize money for 147s is insulting. I don’t expect Ronnie to sit idly by and let that slide without engaging in some kind of protesting behavior…

  2. People online are focusing on the 147 bonus which is a side-show of course.

    The WC qualifiers is probably a good idea. We saw several players burned out at the Crucible. Plus, with the current schedule this gives players arriving back from Beijing a couple of extra days gap.

    As for the extra 4 places from Q School, it doesn’t make any difference, as those players would have been top-ups in any case. I’ve said before that the Q School structure is not fit for purpose, and indeed unfair, so I’m not happy that they haven’t taken the opportunity to revamp it. Sadly, they don’t seem to have any awareness of possible alternative tournament structures. It’s actually pretty important to get the right players through.

    The draw for Q School 2019 is now out (218 hopefuls), and there are the usual suspects, many well into their forties, who will probably get through yet again, and a couple of mildly surprising ommissions. There are five players under 16, three of whom could actually do well enough to qualify, but would likely be denied VISAs or educational leave. Perhaps that’s why the Order of Merit places were allocated, as that conceals the problem nicely.

    As for Jimmy White, I’d have preferred a 1-year card, his 40th season, and give him the opportunity for a ‘final lap of honour’, which would probably be good for him, and for us.

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