The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) announced on Thursday its involvement in the beginning of an official WPBSA World Seniors Tour.
The WPBSA stated: “While the World Snooker Tour has gone from strength to strength in recent years, it is vital that we consider the longevity of the careers of our players.”
“We recognise the excellent work already carried out by Jason Francis and Snooker Legends in creating interest and events which many of our sporting greats now compete in.
“Our intention is to create a partnership with Jason to take what he has done global and create more playing opportunities for amateurs than ever before.
“There is clearly a role to play for the WPBSA as snooker’s world governing body in ensuring this concept receives the attention and support it deserves.
“Globally, there are significant numbers of players who are over 40 who continue to maintain a strong competitive instinct in our sport.
“In support of the many players and the work of the World Snooker Federation, we are now engaged with the partners involved to build a tour of events as an official WPBSA World Seniors Snooker Tour.”
Francis, who initially showcased his ability to promote the sport with his popular Snooker Legends exhibition tour, has been instrumental in the recent success of the World Seniors Tour.
The inaugural campaign this year has already brought the tour all around the United Kingdom and Ireland, with qualifying events for the four major tournaments even scheduled to take place as far afield as China.
Jimmy White claimed the first title of the 2017/18 season by capturing the UK Seniors Championship in October – 25 years after his UK Championship glory on the Main Tour, the biggest ranking win of his illustrious career.
The World Seniors Tour is a brilliant chance for the likes of White and other legends passed their prime to continue to entertain the large crowds that are evidently willing to turn up and support their old heroes.
However, the new initiative is also providing opportunities for quality club players who never quite made it on the professional scene but who can now mix it competitively in front of a wider audience.
Francis said: “Every tour player approaching or just under 40 should understand that today the WPBSA took a huge step in securing a future for you when you fall off tour. This is your pension, embrace it.”
“If you’re an amateur player over 40 then there’s no better place, with more opportunities, than the WPBSA World Seniors Snooker Tour.
“Friendships will be rekindled, memories shared, rivalries revisited, and new stories created. I can’t wait to be part of this exciting journey.”
The next stop in the World Seniors Tour is a return to Goffs in County Kildare for the Seniors Irish Masters at the start of January.