Tour News – Provisional 2021/22 Calendar and more

WST has yesterday announced the provisional calendar for the coming season:

2021-22 Snooker Calendar Announced

The provisional calendar for the 2021/22 World Snooker Tour has been released.

Click here for the 2021-22 calendar

WST staged 18 events during the 2020/21 season despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic, and is now working towards a packed schedule for the coming campaign.

The season will start with the Championship League in July, which will be a ranking event open to all 128 tour players, promoted by Matchroom Multi Sport.

The four Home Nations events will take place between October and March, while the Cazoo Series of three events will run between December and April.

Snooker’s Triple Crown events remain ever-present with the UK Championship to take place in York in November and December, followed by the Masters in London in January and the Betfred World Championship in Sheffield at the end of the season.

There are five more ranking events on the calendar early in 2022 – the Shoot Out, German Masters, European Masters, China Open and Gibraltar Open. The invitational Champion of Champions will take place in Bolton in November.

Several other weeks have been allocated throughout the season for potential ranking events, with further news to follow.

WST Chairman Steve Dawson said: “We are now working flat out on our calendar for the coming season, and particularly looking towards locations outside the UK. We are determined to get back to the territories around the globe where we have nurtured growth over the past decade, such as China, Germany, Gibraltar and others, while also planning ventures into new markets.

“Over the past year we have been at the forefront of sport in terms of keeping our tour going and maintaining earning opportunities for our players, by staging events in Covid-safe environments in the UK. But we hope it will be possible in the coming season to venture overseas and to welcome crowds to all of our UK events. We are working closely with governments in the UK and abroad to determine what can be achieved.

“At this stage the calendar is a work in progress as we explore all opportunities and we will make further announcements in due course.”

The Home Nations events will have a new structure this season, with a qualifying round for players seeded outside the top 16. All players will start in the same round, but the top 16 will play their opening matches at the final venue.

Further updates on the calendar including venues and ticketing will be announced when available.

This is the thing …


Interestingly there are 12 days in August for “qualifiers”, likely for the for the first home nations as well as potential ranking events in September and October. And there are other qualifiers early February, likely for the European Masters, Welsh Open and the potential ranking event just before the China Open, the only event currently confirmed in China so far. But maybe there will be more of those Chinese events and if “grouped” it will be better for the players, who will not need to travel through time zones as much as they did in the past.

Regarding the Home Nations, they will still be played over a week, with 79 matches to be played instead of 127. Will it be less tables and more matches on television, or a longer format, or maybe even both?

Other than that WST have announced the season’s awards.

No real surprises there. Just happy for Pang Junxy to get the “Rookie of the year” accolade.

In short:

WST Awards: 2020/21 winners
Player of the Year – Judd Trump
Fans’ Player of the Year – Judd Trump
Snooker Journalists’ Player of the Year – Mark Selby
Performance of the Year – Mark Selby
Rookie of the Year – Pang Junxu
Magic Moment of the Year – Neil Robertson
Hall of Fame: Judd Trump, Brandon Parker


10 thoughts on “Tour News – Provisional 2021/22 Calendar and more

  1. Yea but point is Mon by having a qualifier for Home Nations its moving further away from having no qualifiers i like you want to get rid of qualifiers but this decision is a backward step in my opinion

    • Yes, it’s backward unless it’s because they are going back to a longer format, in which case it’s a trade-off. Also, it doesn’t need to be all in Barnsley. IF qualifiers it is I wolud love to see those go around UK, Ireland and mainland Europe, with all tables streamed and free access for fans. With a cuezone and local coaches on site as well. Preferably in a sensible location: for instance if they group English and Welsh qualifiers (which they won’t with the current calendar) have them alternatively in the area of Bristol or Newport, near the border. Similarly, it’s only a 50 minutes flight from Edinburg to Belfast. Lewis says that people like Scott Donaldson would have to qualify in Barnsley. I doesn’t need to be that way and this has been the fate of the mainland Europe players for years with nobody giving a ****. Again qualifiers for the German and European Open should be in mainland Europe. Preferably one of the “central countries” with good train and plane connections: Belgium, the Netherlands, Gemany and north of France for instance. And qualifiers for the Chinese events should be held in China. Depending on the number of such events, in one or two batches just before a main event. And main Chinese events should be grouped, to minimise international travel and with that costs, jetlag and paperwork. Also, once again, first round losers should get paid something, just enough to cover their costs, not counting towards the rankings. It’s not “rewarding mediocrity” it’s paying people for their work. By playing their match they contribute to the tournament, and they bring value to the organisers and sponsors. It should not cost them. If it doesn’t count towards ranking, it will not help them to stay on tour if they aren’t good enough. And finally, whilst I’m at it, I would love to see this change: players dropping off the tour at the end of the World Championship should not be allowed to enter the Q-School that season. They are at an unfair advantage over the amateurs, and one year of reflection about what they want to do and whether they are good enough would be a good idea IMO. I’m sure this latter suggestion will be highly controversial though. I can however think of players, no particularly young ones, who have been pros for years, almost never going past the last 64 in any event, with their highest ranking in the sixty something, but staying on tour by requalifying every couple of years or via the Q-schoo; or the one year list. I’m not sure that’s any good for our sport.

      • Well the idea that relegated professionals can’t enter Q School would probably damage young players significantly. It’s very hard to stay on tour after the first 2 years – very few have achieved this. Possibly there should be an age limit (or better, a seasons limit) on the 1-year top-ups or Q School top-up list. But there’s a strong argument that the best players should be on tour. I’d prefer to help young players by giving them encouragement, rather than by fixing the system. If a player does requalify repeatedly, then it probably means he’s roughly the 80th best player in the world.

        As for qualifying, your idea of having them play each qualifying match locally would be even crazier, especially since the qualifying round is at a different time. So now they have to fly to Belfast for one qualifying match, fly home, and then fly over again when the main event happens?

        Basically, the structure of the Home Nations tournaments is clear:
        3 days’ qualfying (48 matches on 4 tables)
        Monday: first round (the top-16 on 4 tables)
        Tuesday + Wednesday: second round (32 matches on 4 tables)
        Thursday: third round (16 matches on 4 tables)
        Friday: last-16 AND Q-finals (12 matches on 4 tables)
        Saturday & Sunday: semi-finals and final.

        Matches best-of-7 until Q-finals (best-of-9), etc. just as it is now. The key difference is that they only need 4 tables, which means new venues might be applicable.

        The 3-days’ qualifying rounds for the 4 tournaments to be played back-to-back on 16-27 August (12 days). Clearly, this would be a 4-table setup in a single location. Players would be required to travel to this venue per-match, i.e. 4 round trips, unless they are lucky enough to get matches on consecutive days (an 11% chance. With matches starting 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm, only a few players could manage a day-trip, so for most it would be in total 4 round trips + 4 nights’ hotel bill.

        But I agree with the sentiment that (e.g.) the ‘Scottish Open’ should be ‘the Scottish Open’, and not have a round in Barnsley (or Marshall Arena, or wherever it is). Of course it’s more difficult for overseas events, which is why I support a stratified system without these qualifiers. The root cause of all this silliness is, as I’ve so often said, the ranking system.

        In terms of prizemoney, if a player wears a sponsor’s logo on his waistcoat, surely he MUST be paid? I haven’t looked at the players’ contracts, but I know a few lawyers who would be interested in this issue.

      • Ideally, I would have no qualifiers at all and get rid of the constraint to squeeze the events in one week. Start on a Saturday, finish on the next Sunday (for instance) but yes definitely at or near the final venue. If the broacaster don’t want to cover nine days, OK, rely on streaming and get the top 16 to play on the Monday. That would leave “short weeks” in the calendar but then those could be used for round-robin events running over multiple periods. I definiyely do want UK players to have to travel for European and Chinese events, just as European and Chinese players have to do currently, even for their home events, which is absurd. If they can’t cope with it, sod it, all others have to and had to do it for years and that’s the main reason why the UK players are still dominating the tour. For them, it’s easier, cheaper and with less administrative hassle. They don’t have to expat, they don’t have to get used to a different culture, they don’t have to learn a different laguage, they don’t have to live separated from their families. They have it easy comparatively. I disagree that it’s more difficult for oversea’s event. It’s not and it would fairer.

      • Also, I stand by my idea that relegated players should not be allowed to enter the Q-School immediately, unless, maybe, if they are at the end of their FIRST tour card. But at the same time, I would like to see a less top heavy system and one that would take the respective rankings/ratings of the players into account. That would mean a “differential” point system of course, not a “raw” money based system and it WOULD be more difficult to understand for the players and for the fans. In particular it would be impossible to “calculate” what a player needs to do before their opponent(s) is(are) known.

  2. Monique, with respect to your point, yes it’s true that lower-ranked players don’t get on TV, that’s inevitable. But now, they don’t even get to be at the TV venues. We now have the absurd situation where Scott Donaldson and Graeme Dott have to play a match in Barnsley to qualify for the Scottish Open, Matthew Stevens and Ryan Day have to play a match in Barnsley to qualify for the Welsh Open, Jordan Brown and Gerard Greene have to play a match in Barnsley to qualify for the Northern Ireland Open. That’s even less UK-centric than it was before! It actually means that those outside the top-16 have to do considerably more travelling, perhaps having to drive to Barnsley 4 times within 12 days, and then to the main venues a few months later should they qualify. OK I understand the organisers only need 4 tables, but it chops the hind legs off these tournaments.

    You can imagine a young player qualifies as a rookie pro, but struggles in August. He now finds that he only has 3 or 4 more events for the next 8 months, plus Gibraltar and the Shoot-out. All that for potentially £0 prize money, with all the travel costs to pay. Excluding players from tournaments is so obviously not a way to develop young talent. Ultimately the future of snooker depends on its players, not on corporate expansion.

    But, I’ve said before, young players really aren’t wanted or valued. The structure is mainly focused on keeping the elite in place for maximum recognition. It’s a form of ranking-based apartheid.

  3. In the Bad old days of the early 90s some players season would be played between July and September at the Norbreck castle Hotel in Blackpool then spend the next 9 months waiting for the next season.. with Home Nations they felt part of the Tour playing on the table next to Ronnie, Trump or Selby. real shame thats been taken out.

    • Yes, it destroys the tournaments and it destroys the season for lower-ranked players, some of whom could be the future. WST have yet again demonstrated that to them ‘developing the game’ means ‘exploring new markets’, but with no interest in developing the next generation of players. No serious business model would sacrifice their future for the sake of a few quick deals. It will end up a return to the 1990’s, or possibly the 1960’s.

      • I’m not sureI agree with you or Edd here and I do respect your opinions. But lets be realistic: the lowest ranked players were only shown on TV or streaming when playing the top guys and those matches will still be shown at the venue. Now some other games will be shown too hopefully. If it goes back to a longer format for it, I’ll be happy with the change. That said, if I could have it my way, there would be no qualifiers at all, with all matches played at the final venue, or at least at the final location, for all events and all tables streamed. I would love to get rid of the UK bias that the current system generates. And I would have prize money, without ranking points, for the first round losers, the said money being found by making the whole system a bit lass top heavy.

  4. I think the Home Nations ‘qualifying round’ means that lower-ranked players are to be hidden away from view in a subsidiary venue, whilst the top players get top billing at the main venues. The August ‘Qualifiers’ is probably where they get weeded out for the Home Nations. The November ‘Qualifiers’ are probably for the German Masters and European Masters, with two qualifying rounds to get to the 32-player draws.

    These Home Nations tournaments were very enjoyable for me, as a compact way to see all 128 players, with 8 tables in play. In the 2019-20 season I attended the English Open throughout, and the Scottish Open and Welsh Open for the first 4 days. With this structure I probably won’t go to any of them now, as many of the players I wanted to see will be excluded.

    Under these plans, it could be that a weaker player might not make it to any TV stage for the entire season, and play only in York, Sheffield and qualifiers (nodoubt Barnsley or Preston).

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