Main Tour News – Crucible 2020 dates and China Championship 2019 qualifiers draw

Worldsnooker have decided not to change the dates for the World Championship in May, despite the final Monday being a normal working day, but offer to refund the fans who would be unable to attend. Here is the info:

Next year’s Betfred World Championship will retain the previously announced dates of 18 April to 4 May, 2020, despite the fact that the last day will not be a bank holiday.

Snooker’s biggest event has traditionally finished on the Monday bank holiday. However last month the government announced that in 2020 the bank holiday would move from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May in order to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Following discussions with host broadcaster the BBC, World Snooker will keep the dates of the tournament at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield the same, and the television coverage will not be affected.

And, following discussion with the Crucible, we have decided to offer any fans who wish to return their tickets for Monday 4 May a full refund.

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “It’s a very disappointing decision by the UK government to change the date of the bank holiday at such short notice. To commemorate VE Day is an admirable principal, but why couldn’t this decision have been made years ago to give all affected parties enough time to plan?

“Tickets for the World Championship final are like gold dust, and no doubt we have many fans who have been lucky enough to get hold of them who now may have their plans scuppered because they have work commitments on the Monday. That’s why we will be offering them a full refund if they cannot be in Sheffield on that day. With more notice we could have planned for this change long before the tickets went on sale. It is a decision which will affect many businesses and individuals across the events industry.”

Fans who wish to request a refund should contact the Crucible box office on 0844 65 65 147.

Or if the booking was made with See Tickets call 0871 620 7052 (Calls cost 13ppm plus the network access charge) or click here

To be honest, that final Monday has always been a normal working day for everyone outside Britain. If snooker really wants to be “World” snooker and global, it’s time to revisit the World Championship schedule and finish on a Sunday. The BBC won’t agree probably but it’s another of those “UK centric” things that need to go if they are serious about their global/worldwide ambitions.

Obviously though, for this year it’s too late to envisage a complete overhaul. Tickets have been sold and many will already have booked their hotel and transport.

Worldsnooker also published the China Championship qualifiers draw and format:

The draw for the qualifying round of the China Championship has been made. This will run from August 15-18 at Barnsley Metrodome, with the winners to go through to the final stages in Guangzhou in September.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

No Ronnie in sight, which honestly doesn’t surprise me as he has booked exhibitions on 26 and 27 September 2019.

There is an interesting change though: the wilcards are playing each other. This of course minimises the number of  held-over matches and therefore the number of players who get travel fees. Apart from Tom Ford and Ken Doherty who are bound to play a wildcard, only the Defending Champion Mark Selby, the World Champion Judd Trump and the two top China players – Ding Junhui and Yan Bingtao – have their matches held-over, and interestingly, three out of four of them play an Asian opponent.

On weibo, I read that this new wildcard arrangement is because there are 126 pros who entered so, no spot for Q-school players, and minimising the “impact” of wildcards.