O’SULLIVAN & TRUMP AMONG ENTRIES AS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAGUE SNOOKER BECOMES A RANKING EVENT
Championship League Snooker will return this autumn at Stadium MK with an expanded 128-player field and, for the first time, will be a WST Ranking Event with a prize fund of £328,000.
Player entries include recently crowned six-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and World No.1 Judd Trump. Of the top 16 players, only Ding Junhui has not entered.
Following the unprecedented success of this summer’s Championship League, which marked the return of live televised sport in the UK after the Covid-19 shutdown, the event has been expanded to feature 128 players over 21 days, split into three weeks across September and October.
- STAGE ONE will be played across two blocks of eight days: September 13-20 and September 28–October 5. This stage features 32 groups of four players, with two tables per day hosting one group each. The player who tops each group will progress to Stage Two.
- STAGE TWO (October 26-29) sees the 32 group winners split into eight further groups of four, with two groups per day also played over two tables.
- STAGE THREE (October 30) will see the eight Stage Two Group Winners battle it out over two final groups, with the two group winners contesting the best-of-5 final.
The popular group format employed during the summer’s Championship League will return to the event, which is promoted by Matchroom Multi Sport and will use Rasson tables, which have proved popular at the Champion of Champions and previous Championship League Snooker events.
Each group of four is a round robin, with matches played as best-of-four frames. Players are awarded three points for a win and one point for a draw. Players who conclude the group on an equal number of points will be separated, in this order, by net frame difference, head-to-head result and, if the players are still tied, by the highest break achieved in the group.
Players will earn prize money based on their final standing in each group played, meaning the overall winner will have accumulated £33,000 by the time they lift the trophy on October 30, as well as a place in the Champion of Champions.
Emily Frazer, Managing Director of Matchroom Multi Sport said: “Championship League Snooker is an established and great event with the ability and potential to build on and develop further. Following a thriving success in June as the first sporting event back on TV since lockdown, Championship League peaked at 600,000 viewers on ITV Sport, over 1,000,000 in China and reached 2,700,000 on Eurosport – with staggering viewing figures like this the format proved to be a great hit with not just the players but fans and broadcasters alike.
“A progression for Championship League Snooker is to open the field to all 128 WST card holders as a full ranking event; 121 tour card holders have entered the event, with seven players from Q school topping up the field. This is a positive and exciting start to the evolution of the event as well as giving all players on Tour the opportunity at a full calendar of snooker for the rest of the year despite what are still difficult times we are all currently facing.
“With a poised top list of players for Championship League Snooker, our biggest ever prize fund at over £325,000 for the event, 168 live hours, 253 matches, an exciting, easy-viewing format plus the winner earning a seat in the Champion of Champions we are enthusiastic to kick this off September 13!”
Broadcast details for Championship League Snooker will be confirmed in the coming weeks along with the full entry list and Stage One draw for the event.
Ding not entering this is a bit puzzling.
Six other tour card holders did not enter. I wonder who they are and if traveling/visa issues were the reason for some to miss out.
I know that this format is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I did enjoy the 64 men event earlier this summer and I’m looking forward to a return of snooker on our screens.