Next Season Tour Cards Structure

WPBSA and WST have announced the 2022/23 provisional Tour Cards structure

2022/23 World Snooker Tour Cards

The WPBSA and WST have today jointly announced the provisional tour card structure for the 2022/23 World Snooker Tour.

Once again, the top 64 players on the official world ranking list following the 2022 Betfred World Championship will retain their professional status. They will be joined by players who are currently on the first year of a two-year tour card, as well as the top four players on the one-year ranking list, not already qualified for next season.

The tour will be completed by players who are able to successfully qualify through recognised tour qualification pathways. As was the case last season, these will include Q School, the CBSA China Tour, the World Women’s Snooker Tour and the Regional Federations recognised by the World Snooker Federation (WSF). Due to the timing of rescheduled regional events following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, additional places may be award for these tournaments.

There will also be places won via the planned staging of the WPBSA Q Tour and World Snooker Federation Championship tournaments, both of which were unable to take place last season but are now set to proceed.

Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “We are delighted to announce the tour structure for 2022/23. This is a golden era for snooker in terms of our strength in depth and the standard of play on our global tour gets stronger every year.

“We are particularly excited to bring back tour places for the winners of the fantastic amateur events staged around the world, providing incentive and opportunity for the best new talent from around the planet. It is so important to see the leading players from all continents, including Africa and the Americas, playing in the spotlight of our professional circuit, in order to help our sport grow in those regions.

“We are one of the few truly inclusive sports, with no barriers in terms of gender, age and nationality, and that is reflected in our tour structure.”

Full qualification list:

Top 64 from the two-year Prize Money World Rankings after the 2022 World Championship: 64

Players awarded a two-year Tour card for the 2021/2022 season (not already qualified): 31*

Top 4 players from 2021/2022 one-year ranking list following the 2022 World Championship (not already qualified)** 4

CBSA China Tour**: 2

Q School**: 12

WPBSA Q Tour**: 2

WSF Championship**: 1

WSF Under-18 Junior Championship**: 1

World Women’s Snooker Qualifiers**: 2

EBSA European Qualifiers**: 2

APBSF Asia Pacific Qualifier**: 1

PABSA Americas Qualifier**: 1

ABSC Africas Qualifier**: 1

*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 2022 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.

Interestingly no mention of invitational cards …

Also worth noting that APBSF includes Oceania.

Players coming from some of these regions have consistently struggled on the main tour, some gave up before completing their two years, some even never showed up.

I’m certain that Jason Ferguson is aware that the level of the snooker in some areas is nowhere near what is required from main tour professionals and that the players coming from those areas have next to no chance to stay on tour after two years. It’s hard enough to have to move to the UK as an expat, to leave the family, to learn a different language, to adapt to a different culture without having to cope with the fact that you feel that you don’t have a proper chance to succeed. Ideally, there should be a true secondary tour, and this should be where all new pros start. The fact though is that there isn’t such a secondary tour for now … so why not offer those aspiring players one full year of scholarship under supervision of a mentor/coach and, only after that year, offer them a two years card PROVIDED that

  1. they still want one
  2. they have shown commitment and dedication throughout their scholarship
  3. they have played in most Q-Tour events available to them (*)

Also, just as WST/WPBSA have put structures into place to support those players who struggle with mental health, it would be a good idea for them to facilitate the access to English language courses for those who need them. Brits tend to assume that everyone speaks English (whilst themselves usually don’t speak any other language 😉) but this isn’t the case. Being able to communicate is essential in every aspect of our lives. It’s even more important when one is away from home and family. Isolation is a huge negative factor when it comes to wellbeing and mental health.

(*) If the Q-Tour becomes truly international, some of those aspiring players may find it difficult to secure visas and other required papers for some destinations.

 

Snooker and Pool – News and Opinions – 15.09.2021

Let’s start with the opinions.

Following Judd Trump’s suggestion that the World Championship should leave the Crucible, David Hendon, in his podcast makes a very strong case for the Crucible, and for keeping longer formats as well. It’s well worth to listen to. It’s only the first 13 minutes and a bit, but it explains why, beyond the emotional aspect of a possible move, it would be extremely costly. David also makes a case for have more TRUE invitational events in the calendar. David was extremely critical of Judd’s ideas, but also praised him for taking part in the  US Open pool event.

Judd BTW won his second match in Atlantic city. Once again his opponent appeared to be quite weak. Here is what Phil Haig put on twitter:

Screenshot 2021-09-15 at 11.12.56

and here is WST report on it:

Trump Eases To Round Three

Judd Trump continued to impress on his 9-ball pool debut at the US Open in Atlantic City, beating India’s Dhruvalkumar Patel 9-2 to reach round three.

The Ace in the Pack swept to a whitewash victory in the opening round against the USA’s Joe Magee. His opponent on that occasion looked nervy and it was a similar story today. It was Trump who secured a 2-1 lead after an edgy first three racks. He then broke and ran the fourth to extend his lead to two at 3-1.

There was a further break and run later in the tie to move 6-2 ahead, from which point he reeled off the following three racks to emerge a comfortable victor. He now faces Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al-Shammari in round three.

Trump said: “There was a good buzz in here today. It is exciting for me to play pool and to be out here among the American fans. It is something new for me. He looked nervous before the game. He said I was one of his idols and that he watches a lot of snooker so it is obviously very difficult for him.

“It is a good warm up for me to try and see what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong. It will obviously get a little bit harder when you go further through the draw. The next game is going to get harder again. I like playing against the top players in any sport. I’m just excited to come up against the top players and see where I’m at.”

WST also published this about the Cazoo Series:

Cazoo Series – Ranking Points

WST is pleased to confirm that, following consultation with both the WPBSA, and the WPBSA Players Board, this season players will receive both prize money and their ranking points where they lose in round one of any Cazoo Series event. This is a change from the previous position where players would only receive the prize money.

This is conditional on players both competing and completing their round one match. Players unable to complete their match for any reason will not receive the associated ranking points.

For the avoidance of doubt the Cazoo Series includes all of the following events: Cazoo World Grand Prix, Cazoo Players Championship and Cazoo Tour Championship.

 

2021/22 Q-Tour News

This was shared by WST yesterday:

WPBSA Q Tour 2021/22

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) has announced the relaunch of WPBSA Q Tour which will run during this current season.

Initially unveiled last June as a replacement for the previous Challenge Tour system, Q Tour will provide a clear pathway to the World Snooker Tour with two professional places to be won and further high-quality competition for elite amateur talent in our sport.

The 2021/22 season will see a minimum of four Q Tour events held, with the top ranked player at the end of the season guaranteed to earn a two-year tour card. There will also be a play-off tournament run with 16 players with the winner also to be awarded a main tour place.

There will be a prize fund of £12,000 to be won at each tournament with the overall Q Tour ranked number one and the final play-off winner each earning a bonus of £2,000 upon joining the professional circuit.

It is planned that each of the four events staged this season will be held within the UK due to the continued challenges caused by the global pandemic. It is, however, the clear intention that from the start of the 2022/23 season, Q Tour will become a global circuit to include regional Q Tour competitions.

Event structure

Each weekend tournament will be made up of 64 players, with the top 40 eligible players from the 2021 Q School Ranking List eligible to compete. They will be joined by the eight highest ranked junior players on the 2021 Q School Order of Merit, not already qualified.

Tournaments will also include an open entry element through the introduction of preliminary rounds held on the Friday immediately prior to the start of the weekend competition. Up to 16 players will qualify to complete the weekend field.

All Q Tour events will be held at official 147 Clubs recognised by the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards.

Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “I am today delighted that we are able to announce our plans for the staging of WPBSA Q Tour this season.”

“Snooker has not been immune to the effects of the pandemic, and it is of course the amateur game that has perhaps been most significantly affected as a direct result of the coronavirus restrictions that we have all experienced over the past 18 months. I know that it has been an extremely challenging time for these fantastic players and I am grateful for their continued patience as we have worked to provide opportunities to compete.

“The launch of WPBSA Q Tour 2021/22 represents the first of these opportunities and will be a significant addition to our calendar for elite amateur players, providing a direct pathway to the World Snooker Tour.”

It is anticipated that the first Q Tour competition will take place not before November and further information including entry details will be released soon.

It’s good to finally get some news about the Q-Tour, and to read that it’s on, even if  it’s with only four events this season. It’s also too to see that 8 spots will be reserved for junior players.

I do not expect covid-19 to go away though and I sincerely hope that WPBSA will come good on the promise of having regional Q-Tour events next season despite the circumstances. We all want and need to go back to normal, even if that means taking a few additional precautions for some more time. It’s something that everyone should accept: it’s a matter of health and security for all.

Snooker and Tour News – 03.09.2021

Here are some snooke/tour news that popped up over the last days

WST has published an updated “Format and Schedule” for the television stages of the Northern Irland Open:

BetVictor Northern Ireland Open Updated Draw

The updated draw and format for the 2021 BetVictor Northern Ireland Open following the conclusion of the qualifying round is now available.

Click here for the updated draw

Click here for the updated format

The world ranking event runs from October 9th to October 17th at the fantastic Waterfront Hall venue in central Belfast. It is the first of this season’s BetVictor Home Nations Series, with the winner to lift the Alex Higgins Trophy.

Tickets to see the best players on the planet are available now  For full details CLICK HERE

The tournament has 128 players all starting in round one. The top 16 seeds, as well as Jordan Brown, had their opening matches held over to Belfast, while all other players competed in the qualifying round.

Matches to look out for on Sunday October 10th include

1pm session
World Champion Mark Selby v Mark Davis
John Higgins v Joe O’Connor
Northern Ireland’s top player Mark Allen v Si Jiahui
Neil Robertson v Barry Pinches

7pm session
Defending champion Judd Trump v Andrew Pagett
Kyren Wilson v Jamie Clarke
Local favourite Jordan Brown v Gary Wilson
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stuart Carrington
Mark Williams v Mark Joyce

Trump is aiming to win the tournament for a fourth year in a row – remarkably he has beaten O’Sullivan 9-7 in the final in each of the last three seasons.

The event begins with a 7pm evening session on Saturday October 9th, with tickets at just £5.

The event will be televised by Eurosport, Quest and a range of other broadcasters worldwide.

The have also announced that referee Peter Williamson is retiring:

Referee Peter Williamson Retires

Long-serving referee Peter Williamson has retired from the World Snooker Tour after 30 years on the circuit.

The Liverpudlian first refereed on Merseyside in the late 1970s and moved into the professional game in 1991.

Williamson officiated several ranking event semi-finals as well as the final of a Players Tour Championship event in 2012 in which Rod Lawler beat Marco Fu 4-2 in Gloucester.

We spoke to him about his career highlights, favourite players and plans for retirement…

What lessons have you learned from your career that you will take into your retirement?

“Sometimes you cannot take people at face value, they can turn out totally different. It was a joy to meet people from all around the world, all different ages and different backgrounds.”

What were your favourite places to go on the tour?

“Well, obviously, the Crucible – and also Shanghai and York. Shanghai is a totally different environment and seeing the way the country was developing at the time, just when they were going to be getting the Olympics in China was brilliant. They were building a completely new rail system with 120 stations and building the whole thing at the same time simultaneously. The whole place was bright, multi-coloured and the electric bill for the city must have been tremendous!”

What was your favourite game to referee?

“I refereed Ronnie O’Sullivan against John Higgins in the 2009 Shanghai Masters semi-final, and O’Sullivan against Marco Fu in the same tournament. With Fu being from Hong Kong, they reckon the audience for that was in the tens of millions, if not 100 million. I don’t really feel pressure in games like those, you get used to it and I’d been refereeing professionally for about 15 years by then.”

What was your favourite moment of your career?

“Not long after I started, August 1991, I refereed at Trentham Gardens. In the qualifiers, I had the privilege of refereeing Fred Davis. It was a booth situation and most of the booths only had one or two people in, but mine was full and there wasn’t a seat to be had, because there was a party of pensioners in! They all wanted to see Fred play and when it got to the interval, he was 4-0 down and it was quite a distance to get to the refreshments area. He beckoned me over after his opponent, Jamie Woodman, had gone out and said: “You couldn’t do me a massive favour.” So I said: “Yes what’s that?” and he said: “My legs won’t get me to the refreshment area in time for the restart, is it at all possible you could organise a cup of tea for me?” So I got the balls set up and ran off to the tournament office and ordered the tray with a cup of tea for him that was delivered to the table. He lost the match 5-0 but that always stuck with me!”

Who was your favourite player to referee?

“I always had a lot of fun and banter with Ken Doherty, because of our football connections. I’m a Liverpool fan and he’s Manchester United, of course. Another player was John Higgins. I’ve refereed two 147s with Higgins, so I remember those well.”

What will you miss most about being on tour?

“Apart from watching the development of the game, seeing the way the game is spreading around the world, it’s probably the chance to meet up with colleagues from lots of different countries. It’s the only chance you get to meet up with workmates.”

What are your plans for retirement?

“I may still referee a bit of billiards. I’ve done five world billiards finals, and I got asked over the weekend if I was available to referee in Reading, but unfortunately I’m in Cyprus at the time. I’ll also be doing more gardening. I’ve just got a barbeque so I’ve been coming up with innovative menus for that, like chocolate bananas.”

Finally, what is your message to players on the tour right now?

“Keep at it, even if you are having a bad day. Practice makes perfect so stick with it.  Also – I’d just like to thank all my colleagues for making the second part of my working life my most memorable.”

I have met Peter at countless events over the years and it was a pleasure always. Enjoy your retirement Peter. All the best for the future!

Twitath Warinthrakom, who is a in many ways the Thai equivalent of Rolf Kalb, has shared some worrying news on his Facebook page. Last Tuesday, he annouced that he had tested positive to covid-19. Yesterday, he wrote that he was in hospital. His condition looks serious alas. Twitath was asking his friends to pray for him.

I sincerely hope that Twitath will make a full recovery soon. He’s always been very friendly with me and is loved by the whole snooker community in Thailand.

Tour and Players News – 27/08/2021

A few interesting things have been published over the last couple of weeks.

WST has published the result of the last disciplinary hearing:

Disciplinary Hearing Outcome 2021

And the rankings/seedings “cut-off” points” for this season

RankingPointsCut-Offs 2021:22

Despite a terrible performance in his second match last week, Stephen Hendry is determined to persist and extend his career:

Stephen Hendry planning to extend snooker comeback beyond this season: ‘I’m not putting any time limit on it’

Stephen Hendry
Stephen Hendry is hoping for an extended stay on the main tour (Picture: WST)

Stephen Hendry is hoping that his snooker comeback lasts beyond this season, expecting another wildcard to stay on tour if he doesn’t stay on through the rankings.

The seven-time world champion picked up a 3-2 win over Chris Wakelin in the opening round of the British Open this week, his second victory since returning to the main tour earlier in the year.

There were some encouraging signs in that contest, with some impressive long pots going in, although he could not conjure up that form again in the next round as he lost 3-0 to Gary Wilson.

Hendry was handed a two-year tour card at the start of last season by then-WST chairman Barry Hearn, meaning it comes to an end at the climax of the current campaign.

It seemed more than possible that the 52-year-old would just play those two years, but he has been encouraged by his improvement since playing the game regularly again and intends to continue past the end of this season.

His aim is to play at the Crucible in the World Championship once again, and he will keep plugging away until he returns to the iconic venue.

Speaking after his win over Wakelin, Hendry told Metro.co.uk: ‘That’s the goal [playing at the Crucible], whether it’s this year, next year or the year after, I’m not putting any time limit on it.

‘If it doesn’t happen this year that’s not the be all and end all, but that’s the end goal. I’ve always said I don’t want that defeat to [Stephen] Maguire [in 2012] to be my last match at the Crucible, but there’s a long way to go to get there.

‘If my game keeps improving there’s no need to suddenly stop playing again. I’ve not said I’m going to come back, start winning tournaments and be a top player again, I just want to get back to enjoy playing snooker, playing well and see what happens.’

Hendry must reach the top 64 in the rankings, or survive on the one-year money list to stay on tour past this season thanks to his performances.

Stephen Hendry
Stephen Hendry battled past Chris Wakelin in Leicester (Picture: Zhai Zheng)

His other options would be to go to Q School or to get another wildcard and the latter is what he expects to happen as Jimmy White continues to be given that very opportunity.

‘I would hope I’d get another wildcard,’ he said. ‘Jimmy keeps getting them, nothing against Jimmy he’s one of my best mates, but I would hope that the fact I’m competing that I would get another one.

‘Barry [Hearn] did say to me that as long as I play then I’ll get one, the only reason he’d take it off me is if I didn’t play at all. So I’m playing so I’d like to think I’d get one.’

Hendry confirmed that he has not entered the Northern Ireland Open but will be playing in the Scottish Open, with qualifiers played next month, although he is disappointed that the main stages are in Wales rather than Scotland over last-minute issues with the arena in Glasgow.

‘I didn’t enter Northern Ireland but I’m going to enter the Scottish, but it’s going to be strange playing the Scottish Open in Llandudno,’ he said.

‘I actually don’t even know the reason I’m not playing Northern Ireland, I just didn’t fancy it, to be fair. No special reason, I just didn’t enter it. My comeback was never going to be full time, it was always going to be picking and choosing the events I wanted to play in, rather than being full time.’

I totally understand why Stephen doesn’t want that match to be his last at the Crucible. I was there. He started well, then played a couple of bad shots and basically gave up. It was painful to watch, and I’m certain that his opponent, Maguire felt extremely uneasy out there at the time. That’s not how a great champion wants to be remembered, nor is it how they want a brilliant career to finish. I’m sure that Stephen Hendry isn’t proud of that one. He deserves a better closing and I hope he gets it.

And finally … there is this a bizarre, unsettling interview with Mark Allen

Troubled Mark Allen sensationally reveals he may be forced to QUIT snooker

 
Troubled Mark Allen sensationally reveals he may be forced to QUIT snooker

Troubled Mark Allen sensationally reveals he may be forced to QUIT snooker

TROUBLED snooker ace Mark Allen has sensationally revealed he may be forced to quit the sport.

Former Masters champion Allen has been plagued with off-table problems during the past year, which he hinted are close to coming to a head.

The world No 10 is locked in a bitter custody battle with his soon-to-be ex wife Kyla McGuigan.

And added to that unwanted stress the five-time ranking-event winner declared bankruptcy earlier this season.

The Northern Irish potter was forced to play former flame Reanne Evans in the first round at this week’s British Open amid their recent legal disputes.

And Allen revealed: “It’s tough at the minute and I need to get some things sorted.

“I don’t know which tournament is going to be my last at the minute.

“This one could very well be my last with the way things are going.

“I don’t want that to be the case. I love playing snooker, it’s the only thing I’m good at in life.

“Let’s hope that’s not the case, but I’m not sure what’s around the corner.”

When asked why it could be his last tournament, coy Allen replied: “I’d rather not say, but it might be out of my hands.”

Earlier this week Allen beat former girlfriend Evans in a highly-publicised battle of the exes.

The clash had extra spice given the pair’s acrimonious break up and Evans asking her ex partner to provide extra maintenance for their 12-year-old daughter.

But it’s also believed Allen, who has pocketed almost £3.5m in a stellar career, is worried about the shared care for other daughter Harleigh as legal proceedings ramble on.

Allen, who has suffered with depression in the past, cryptically revealed he doesn’t know which direction his troubled career is heading after unwanted family issues.

Allen crashed out of last season’s World Championship with a whimper. And even then he said he would “take a break” from the green-baize game.

Allen started this season in promising form by reaching last week’s Championship League final.

But despite beating Evans on Monday, in a match he called “horrible” Allen was stunned 3-2 by Hossein Vafaei on Wednesday night.

And Allen stressed he was relieved to be sent home after the ordeal of his first-round tie.

“It’s a bit of a relief this tournament’s over if I’m honest,” admitted Allen.

“I think Monday night took a bit more out of me than I was prepared for.

“I saw bits and pieces that were written. As you know I’m very active on social media and it’s hard reading what’s being said about you when 99 per cent of the people saying it don’t know what they’re talking about.

“It’s a blessing to be going home really.”

The only certainty here is that Mark is in a dark place, I can’t imgaine why he would be FORCED to quit snooker if he doesn’t want to.

 

2021 Northern Ireland Open Draw and Qualifiers Format + more Tour News

WST has published the draw and the qualifiers’ format for the 2021 Northern Ireland Open.

BetVictor Northern Ireland Open Draw

The draw and format for the 2021 BetVictor Northern Ireland Open is now available.

The qualifying round will run from August 23-27 at the Morningside Arena in Leicester, followed by the final stages at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast from October 9-17.

The matches involving the top 16 seeds, two wild card nominations plus local tour player Jordan Brown will be held over to the final venue.

Judd Trump will begin his quest to win the title for a fourth consecutive year against Andrew Pagett. Ronnie O’Sullivan will face Stuart Carrington in the first round, while World Champion Mark Selby will take on Mark Davis. Northern Ireland’s top player Mark Allen will meet Si Jiahui.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

Neil Robertson will be back in action but Ding Junhui is still absent from the draw, as, unfortunately are On Yee Ng and Marco Fu.

WST has also published an updated version of their calendar:

2021:22 WST Calendar - 2021-08-18

As I expected after Jason Ferguson’s interview , the China Open has gone. Also, the top 16 players will not be in action at all until the 9th of October. That’s as big a break in the course of the season as I can remember. Also there are a lot of qualifiers to be confirmed in this calendar, but only one “potential ranking event” is mentioned. Also, no sign of the “traditional” Championship League.

Finally there is this in the press about the “handshake” incident at the start of the Allen v Evans match earlier this week.

Reanne Evans escapes punishment for handshake snub in bitter clash with ex Mark Allen

Reanne Evans ignored her former partner’s attempt at a fist bump before their fiery first round clash at the British Open but will not be punished for her actions

Reanne Evans has avoided any official punishment for her decision to ignore Mark Allen’s fist bump before they played at the British Open on Monday.

The pair had formerly been partners but broke up, making for a very awkward encounter only exaggerated by Evans’ move.

The draw for the British Open, which is being played for the first time since 2004, threw up the feisty encounter in the very first round. The two players have a daughter together, born in 2006, but split-up just two years later.

Evans recently asked for more maintenance money from Allen to support their child.

Reanne Evans will not be punished for refusing ex-partner Mark Allen's fist bump at the British Open in Leicester

Previously, players have been warned about conduct if there have been aggressive or angry exchanges, however given the relatively placid nature of Evans’ refusal of Allen’s peace offering, there will be no such action taken.

Reanne Evans will not be punished for refusing ex-partner Mark Allen’s fist bump at the British Open in Leicester

The crowd in Leicester were engrossed at the game, often becoming raucous in their support of the players.

While snooker players are expected to shake hands before any match, there is no strict obligation to do so. During the Covid pandemic such traditions have proved malleable given the obvious risks.

Evans is a 12-time women’s snooker world champion, and recently earned a two year professional tour card. Allen is a Masters champion and is currently ranked 10th in the world.

The pair put on a gripping contest, eventually going to a deciding frame in which Allen held his nerve to take the victory.

Both players commented on how unpleasant the so-called ‘Battle of the Exes’ was to play in after the match, with many onlookers also feeling the intensity of the duel.

Allen said after his victory: “It was horrible, and not something I really want to be doing again. I tried to stay professional and I think I did that and can hold my head up high.”

Evans was upset at her failure to convert a 2-1 lead in frames into a shock victory. She said: “No one wanted that match but you have to accept it, it’s sport and these things are going to happen.

“I am sick of losing these deciders. I couldn’t feel my arms or my legs by the end, with all the nerves and tension. I did settle a bit after the first frame and fancied the job.”

Stephen Hendry remarked while commentating on the affair: “Both players have shown great character. It’s been the most intense match I have probably ever witnessed.”

Allen takes on Hossain Vafaei in the second round of the competition on Wednesday evening.

This was basically a storm in a cup of tea over a non-issue. As the underlined part stresses, there is no strict obligation for the handshake and there was no aggression on either side.

The 2021 Scottish Open will be played … in Wales.

This was announced by WST yesterday:

BetVictor Scottish Open To Be Staged In Llandudno

The BetVictor Scottish Open world ranking event will be staged at Venue Cymru in Llandudno in December this year.

Part of the BetVictor Home Nations series, the tournament will run from December 6 to 12 in North Wales. Mark Selby will be defending the title against a field packed with the world’s leading players. Tickets are on sale now, for details CLICK HERE

WST had previously planned to stage the event at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, where it was hosted from 2016 to 2019. However at short notice WST was informed that this was not possible due to a contractual issue.

A spokesman for WST said: “We were disappointed with this decision, particularly as it came one day prior to the box office opening. This left us unable to find another venue in Scotland to host the event – we exhausted all possibilities but none of the suitable alternatives had the relevant dates available.

“We realise this will come as a blow to Scottish fans and players to miss out on a tournament in their own country this season. We fully intend to return the event to Scotland for the 2022/23 season.

“Despite this setback, we are delighted to stage the event in Llandudno which has proved a fantastic location for a wide range of our events in the past and has always found great support amongst our fans in North Wales and beyond.”

Venue Cymru will also host this season’s Cazoo Tour Championship in Spring next year, and in the past has staged events including the World Grand Prix and Players Championship.

The BetVictor Scottish Open will be televised on Eurosport, Quest and a range of other broadcasters and streaming partners worldwide. It counts towards the BetVictor Snooker Series rankings, with the leading money-winner across eight events to bank a £150,000 bonus.

WST has led the sporting world in the post-lockdown return of live audiences, and will continue to work closely with the UK Government on Covid-19 regulation.

Now what is interesting, and not mentioned by WST, is the nature of this contractual issue, but it has been revealed by David Hendon on twitter:

Scottish Open Hendon twitYester 2021-08-18

So the venue is no longer permitted to stage events sponsored by betting companies… 

It’s a first, it won’t be the last. I have said it for a long time, if WST wants to avoid another “tobacco” crisis they need to distance themselves from the betting/gaming industry and find more “ethical” sponsors. The bans are coming, and rightly so IMO. Gambling addiction is a huge issue and the gambling industry doesn’t do enough to ban unethical tactics aimed at the most vulnerable.  That’s why I see this industry as “unethical”. Some measures are taken but it’s not enough. The numbers in those articles are frightening.