Foulds suggests World Championships venue may move due to coronavirus
I’m not sure that I agree with Neal here. The World Championship does not “need” to be held this year. Why do I say this?
Well, suppose that the event can’t happen before the autumn, which is very possible, even likely given that there are now scientists warning that in Britain the situation won’t be “normal” before about six months from now. That leads us to end September 2020. Then the qualifiers for the World Championship need to happen and that’s a point that Neal doesn’t tackle at all. It involves 128 players, and, unless the format is shortened, requires a minimum of 12 tables – at the highest professional standard – for eight full days. Basically, the television stages can’t happen before mid-October then and finish in the first days of November. After that – before the next season starts – the Q-school needs to be held. Another three weeks minimum. And, at least a couple of weeks need to be left for the Q-school graduates to sort things like visas, relocation, and other practical aspects out. We are well into December by them with at most two weeks in 2020 left for a possible event, maybe the UK Championship.
Then comes the Christmas break, and after that, we have roughly three months left before the next World Championship. In those three months, how many events can you run? And which ones? I’d say, obviously, the ones involving all tour players should be favoured. It’s the lower-ranked players who will suffer the most. They need to resume playing asap. Their livelihoods depend on it and they won’t have much savings.
There are several consequences resulting for such a shortened season:
- There is no way that the Coral series can be held. You can’t have a meaningful one year list if only a couple of “128” events are played. This might impact ITV and it commitment to snooker.
- The Home Nations could be squeezed in those three months, but with, maybe, a German Masters and/or a European Masters. But for both, unless the organisation changes, you have to take qualifiers into account.
- There would be NO event in China at all. Those are the most lucrative.
- Players who did well in 2018/19 will have a lot of points to defend, without much opportunities to defend. They will be put at a significant disadvantage.
Circumstances are exceptional, and, in my views, they require an exceptional answer. I would postpone the World Championship until April 2021 and “extend” the current season over two years. It would be two “calendar years” but actually about only 15 months of actual playing opportunities. I would resume the season as soon as possible, with the current field of maintour professionals, favouring events involving all 128 for the reasons explained above. Not running the Q-school would free almost a month for possible events. Why not properly revive the Paul Hunter Classic? Why not have a second serve of the Home Nations? Portugal seems to have controlled the epidemy very well. Why not consider another European event there?