More Tour News – Next season tour cards

WST has yesterday published its intentions regarding next season’s tour cards:

2021/22 World Snooker Tour Cards

The WPBSA and WST have today jointly announced the provisional tour structure for the 2021/22 World Snooker Tour.

As in previous seasons, the top 64 players on the official world ranking list following the Betfred World Championship will retain their tour cards. They will be joined by players who are currently on the first year of a two-year tour card, as well as the top eight players on the one-year ranking list, not already qualified for next season.

Three-time ranking event winner Marco Fu will be offered an invitational tour card

The tour will be completed by players who are able to successfully qualify through recognised tour qualification pathways, including WST Q School, the World Women’s Snooker Tour, the CBSA China Tour and the Regional Federations recognised by the World Snooker Federation (WSF).

Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic which has meant that events such as the WSF Open and WPBSA Q Tour have not been staged this season, a minimum of two additional places will be added to Q School as an interim measure for next season.

Current European champion Andrew Pagett is also set to join the main tour after his tour card for the 2020/21 season was deferred on medical grounds.

Marco Fu will be offered an Invitational Tour Card due to his outstanding achievements in the sport. The Hong Kong player has missed a number of events over the past year due to travel restrictions.

The full qualification list is set out below:

Top 64 from the two-year Prize Money World Rankings after the 2021 World Championship: 64

Players awarded a two-year Tour card for the 2020/2021 season (not already qualified): 28*

 Top 8 players from 2020/2021 one-year ranking list following the 2021 World Championship (not already qualified)** 8

 CBSA China Tour** 4

 Q School** 14

 World Women’s Snooker Qualifiers** 2

 EBSA European Qualifiers** 2

 APBSF Asia Pacific Qualifier** 1

 PABSA Americas Qualifier** 1

 ABSC Africas Qualifier** 1

 Deferred Tour Place** 1

 Invitational Tour Cards** up to 2

 Total: 128

*Final total subject to change if any of these players finish inside of the top 64 of the two-year prize money rankings after the 2021 World Championship

**Players will receive a two-year tour card

In addition to these confirmed places, any players who qualify for the final stages of the Betfred World Championship at the Crucible, who otherwise would not earn a new tour card, will also receive a two-year tour card, as was the case last season.

The last paragraph suggests that the Q-school might be held during the World Championship, although there is no reason for that if the World is held at it’s usual spot in the calendar, which is very likely to be the case. That said, I wouldn’t be against automatically giving a new tour card in the future, to any player qualifying for the Crucible, who otherwise would not earn a new tour card or stay on tour. This is a massive effort and a true test.

3 thoughts on “More Tour News – Next season tour cards

  1. There’s an error: ‘Players awarded a two-year Tour card for the 2020/2021 season (not already qualified)’ should be 29, not 8. Then it does add up to 128!

    So it does indeed look like the World Championship and Q School will be played in exactly the same format as in 2020, despite some avoidable problems that were evident.

    (1) If players ‘at risk of relegation’ have to enter the Q School draw, then it opens up byes if they survive. With 8 places on the 1-year list, there will be even more byes than last time, plus of course the byes in QS2 and QS3 from those who qualify through QS1 etc. Byes unbalance the draw badly, especially since it’s the strongest players who drop out. Some might need 7 wins, some might qualify with 4.
    (2) If someone outside the top-64 does qualify for the Crucible, does that mean we have 129 professionals?
    (3) Conversely, Jordan Brown has reached the top-64 in his first year of a 2-year card, so that opens up an extra space. Jamie Jones might also achieve this: two extra spaces.
    (4) What of the format for Q School? Last year we has best-of-5’s and 3am finishes in the final rounds. Are we going to go through that again?

    Finally, where are these continental qualifiers going to come from? Even the CBSA (with 4 places) haven’t announced any plans to hold an amateur tournament. OK, I understand WST are happy to ‘leave it to the federations’, but let’s face it, they will have to be nominations. Could that mean that players like Figueiredo, Amiri and several Chinese players would be nominated, rather than play in Q School? Clearly this has to be decided before Q School entry – it can’t be right for someone to lose in Q School, but be nominated anyway. We could have 14 (new) nominated players on tour, most of whom won’t have played a tournament for 18 months. I can’t believe they would be more worthy of a tour place that the likes of Figueiredo, Yuan Sijun, Luo Honghao, etc.

    I actually think it matters who is on tour. Most ‘casual’ snooker fans don’t look beyond the top-10 – the rest are considered annoying also-rans. But we are talking about people’s careers and livelihoods. If there are 20-30 undeserving players on tour, it misrepresents the game, wrecks a lot of matches, and makes a mockery of the 128 ‘tour-card’ system.

    • There was an error indeed on my part when I did the cut/paste, and I corrected it now, but according to WST it’s 28, not 29. I haven’t checked where the discrepancy comes from. I agree on the 128 and would happily go back to 96, with a tieded system in all tournaments, but all ronds played at venue and televised/streamed. . Plus a minimex for first round losers, not counting towards rankings.

      • At the outset, it was 29, but Jordan Brown has now reached top 64. Still, Jamie Jones might reduce it to 27.

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