Details for the criteria that will be used to determine the Main Tour players for the 2019/20 season were published on Wednesday.
The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, along with World Snooker, have announced a plan that will keep the tour at around the same number as it has been for the last five years.
In essence, not very much has changed, with the two tour cards available from the inaugural Challenge Tour the most obvious addition.
Once again, current Main Tour players who finish within the top 64 in the world rankings after the season-ending World Championship will be given a one-year renewal.
Main Tour players who are already on a two-year card that began at the start of this season will naturally survive for another term as well.
As before, eight places will be given to the top players on the one-year ranking list who have not otherwise qualified.
The continental champions from the Americas, Africa, and Oceania regions will receive one nomination each.
Europe receives two cards – one for the European champion and one for the under-21 champion.
The World Snooker Federation (WSF) Championship will also be granted with two nominations for both its winner and runner-up.
A couple of further spots will be reserved for the CBSA China Tour, while the annual Q School provides the usual dozen places.
As things stand, that would make for a total of 125 players but World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn has suggested that there would be more positions open for players on the Q School Order of Merit.
Minimum number of cards is 128. Any spare places will be filled from q school order of merit.
— Barry Hearn (@BarryHearn) January 23, 2019
The Main Tour has never provided professional players with more opportunities to compete at the highest level and to earn a living.
The 2018/19 campaign boasts 20 ranking tournaments and a number of additional invitational tournaments on the calendar.
Prize money is always increasing, with Hearn saying in November that “there are more and more players earning a good wage.”
“Our overall prize money has grown from £3.5 million to £15 million within the past decade.”
“In our current rankings there are 56 players who have earned £100,000 or more from ranking events within the past two years, whereas at the end of the 2015/16 season that figure was just 33.
“We are extremely ambitious in our plans to grow the sport further and create more opportunities for every player on our tour.”
Breakdown of Qualification Criteria for Main Tour Players in 2019/20 Snooker Season
|Top 64 from the two-year Prize Money World Rankings after the 2019 World Championship||64|
|Players awarded a two-year Tour card for the 2018/2019 season (not already qualified).||30*|
|Top 8 players from 2018/2019 one-year ranking list following the 2019 World Championship (not already qualified)**||8|
|World Snooker Challenge Tour**||2|
|CBSA China Tour**||2|
|Q School 1**||4|
|Q School 2**||4|
|Q School 3**||4|
|World Snooker Federation (2019 WSF Championship finalists)**||2|
|EBSA (2019 European Champion and European U-21 champion)**||2|
|Oceania (2019 Oceania champion)**||1|
|Americas (2019 Americas champion)**||1|
|Africas (2019 African champion)**||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 2019 World Championship
**players will receive a two-year tour card
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