The qualifying rounds of snooker’s biggest tournament, the World Championship, will be held at the prestigious Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield next year.
Ponds Forge stages a range of national and international sporting events every year and will host snooker for the first time with the World Championship qualifiers from April 8 to 16, 2014.
All players seeded outside the top 16 will be battling for places in the final stages at the Crucible Theatre.
Steve Davis, Jimmy White, Ken Doherty and rising stars like Jack Lisowksi and Michael White are likely to be among those striving for a coveted spot at the Crucible. The 16 qualifiers will then be drawn at random against the top 16 seeds.
A spokesman for World Snooker said: “We’re thrilled to be staging the qualifying rounds of our biggest event at Ponds Forge for the first time. It’s a fantastic venue and it’s just a stone’s throw from the Crucible so the players and fans will have a keen sense of what is at stake.
“Sheffield has proved an outstanding location for staging our qualifiers in recent years. It’s a very popular city among the players, as well as the hundreds of fans who come to see so many famous names in action.
“Our calendar is so packed this season that we have moved the qualifiers closer to the main event, so a player could win his final round match on April 16th and be playing at the Crucible on the 19th! This will only add to the drama and intensity.
“Tickets details will be announced in due course and hopefully fans will take the chance to see the qualifying rounds unfold.”
The seeding cut off to determine the top 16 for the World Championship is after the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals, which finishes on March 23. The draw and format of play for the qualifiers will be available shortly after this date.
Lorenzo Clark, director of operations for Sheffield International Venues (SIV), which operates Ponds Forge, said: “We are extremely proud to be playing host to the qualifying rounds of snooker’s biggest tournament.
“Ponds Forge regularly stages high profile sporting events from the FINA World Diving Series to the ETTA National Table Tennis Championships but this will the first time a major snooker event is contested at the venue.
“We are looking forward to welcoming the world’s top players to our world-class facility for nine days of exciting action ahead of the World Championship at the Crucible.”
The World Championship is supported by Sheffield City Council.