Please click the links below for key information for the coming season, including prize money schedules, seeding cut off points and tour qualification criteria.
Please note that the Paul Hunter Classic will change from a Ranking event to an Invitational Event. Additionally, we are working towards finalising options for both the Indian Open and the European Masters within the tour however these events are subject to contract and cannot be confirmed at this stage.
Let’s have a closer look at two of them:
The first thing to notice is that, this season, the first round losers in the “Coral Cup” tournaments will no more have their first round money counting towards their ranking. This is consistent with what happens at the World Championship and it’s only correct.
The next thing is that, with the Riga Masters offering £50000 for the winner, the Gibraltar Open £25000 and the European Masters £75000 but not being confirmed at this stage, the European leg of the Main Tour is really not attractive to the top players. That leg is slowly disintegrating IMO. Barry Hearn always goes on about it being up to the sponsors to put the right money on the table if they want the best tournaments. I have said this often, but I will say it once again: the strong association between snooker and the betting industry is a repellent to high profile European sponsors. It’s not in our culture. The gambling industry is seen as a very shady business and not one they want to be associated with. And Barry Hearn should really think hard and long about where he’s leading snooker in UK/Europe. He’s putting all his eggs in one basket and it’s a stinking basket. For those who think that gambling is innocuous they really should read this article: https://www.itv.com/news/2019-06-23/nhs-gambling-addiction-service-for-children-launched/ It won’t be long before gambling and betting adds will be much more strongly regulated in the UK/Ireland, and in the rest of Europe if/where they aren’t already. Does he want a repeat of the “tobacco sponsoring” disaster? Doesn’t he see it’s coming? If it does happen then basically, snooker will move to China, where sponsors are dictated by the authorities and rich prize money is made available.
Regarding prize money … the Paul Hunter Classic, now an invitational, gets a TOTAL funding of only £17500. This is really a sad joke. By making it ranking, and incorporating in the main tour, WS killed the spirit of what was once the best pro-am in the season, a real festival of snooker celebrated by pros, amateurs and fans. Now with this ridiculous funding, they are simply killing it for good.
Finally the £1000000 prizes for the 147 pot and for the “All Home Nations Winner” are a nice way to inflate the “total” prize money available but both are very unlikely to be ever paid. That’s more than 12% of the total prize money “alledgedly” available …
The other interesting document is this one
The first thing to notice is that there will be only 4 spots for the “one year list” instead of 8. Where are those 4 tour cards gone?
Well, two of them go for the Asian Q-school. So, there will be an Asian Q-School, which is good, but it will yield only two tour cards, which IMO is poor. If I count correctly – based on this article by World Snooker – there are currently 33 Asian players on the main tour. That’s more than 1 in 4. And 13 out of 18 of the teenagers on tour are Asian. It seems to me that the Asian Q-School shoud get at least 3 spots, preferably 4. I’m sure that I will be told that the young Asian players have the opportunity to compete in the UK/European leg. True, but at a serious cost. This year none of the Thai players could afford it. And, I’m sure, that UK/European players will be able to compete in the Asian Q-school if they so wish. So that’s not a valid reason to justify the discrepancy.
Two more spots go the WSF Champions. I want to be optimistic and see this as a sign that WSF will be back on track. Time will tell.
Finally, regarding the calendar, there are three “potential/possible ranking events” foreseen, two of them being the European Masters and the Indian Open. Although there is provision for the Championship League Snooker money in the above document, that comp is nowhere to be seen in the current calendar. I would be very surprised though if the most profitable event (for the bookies) was to disappear. So it’s absence from the current calendar only means one thing: a scheduling nightmare mid season.