The inaugural World Snooker Federation Championships this month will see more than 140 players battle it out at the Dolmen Hotel in Malta.
The first ever WSF Championships gets under next Wednesday, March 14, and runs for ten days with three different tournaments set to take place – rivalling the long-held global amateur stranglehold of the International Billiards and Snooker Federation.
The WSF’s parent organisation, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, made a breakaway from the IBSF last summer in a controversial fallout that has left national federations scrambling to decide which side they want to follow.
Switzerland became the latest country to be officially announced as a WSF member last week, joining the likes of the English, Welsh, Scottish, Thai, and Australian national federations who have been confirmed as members.
There has been much speculation as to where each country has aligned itself with the WPBSA peculiarly holding back from releasing a full list of members who have joined, instead opting to release a drip-drab of rather meaningless statements detailing random newcomers to their cause.
Whether it is because the WSF wants its numbers to remain hidden – probably not the wisest practice for a new entity to be undertaking in the current sporting climate – or if the aligned national federations don’t want the IBSF finding out that they’ve changed sides seems mostly irrelevant, as everyone is going to be able to see clearly for themselves next week just what countries have signed up to play in the first ever WSF Championships.
And signing up could prove fruitful for some as the winner of the flagship WSF Championship will receive a first prize of €10,000 and earn a two-year tour card to compete on the World Snooker Tour.
The four semi-finalists of the event will all be invited to the 2018 World Snooker Championship in Sheffield, which this year carries a record first prize of £425,000.
The WSF Championships will also consist of the official 2018 World Women’s Snooker Championship with the winner also gaining entry into the 2018 World Snooker Championship qualifying rounds in April, along with pocketing a cheque for €6,000.
In addition, there will be an event staged for players over 40 years of age, to be known as the WSF Seniors Championship.
There will be a similar first prize of €6,000 for this competition and, following the recent WPBSA announcement regarding an official World Seniors Tour, the winner will receive a personal invitation to compete in a major international World Seniors event.
The top eight players of both the Women’s and Seniors events will automatically qualify to play in the main WSF Championship, providing equal opportunities for both men and women to earn a two-year tour place on the World Snooker Tour.
The WPBSA statement read: “The WSF Championships will see elite amateur snooker players from Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas come together to compete for a place on the prestigious World Snooker Tour.”
“The WSF is an officially recognised International Federation (IF) registered in Switzerland and is the sole recognised IF of the WPBSA.
“Its aims are to provide a strong platform for sports governance, remove barriers for players, and provide inspirational opportunities globally for those players who aspire to develop a career in snooker.”
Draw and schedule details will be announced later.