The World Snooker Tour has announced the decision that this season’s China Open is postponed for health and safety reasons.
The WST, alongisde the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association and the promoters, has not revealed a possible date when the 2020 edition might be completed.
First held as a ranking event in 1999, the China Open is the longest-running tournament from the country and helped pave the way for snooker’s recent boom in Asia.
Last year, the competition was revamped as it became the first event outside of the UK to boast a prize fund of £1 million.
Unfortunately, China has been severely impacted by the recent outbreak of a new coronavirus that has simultaneously begun to spread to other regions of the world.
As travel restrictions are beginning to be recommended, it makes sense that the WST has made this decision quickly so that there isn’t any confusion later in the campaign.
It isn’t the first major sporting event that is set for a reschedule, with the World Athletics Indoor Championships also pushing back their dates by a year.
On a purely snooker level, it will have a major influence on the seeding for the World Championship as the China Open has traditionally granted players with the last opportunity to earn money for their ranking position ahead of the Crucible.
However, there’s nothing that can be done about that and hopefully other events in China won’t be effected heading into the 2020/21 season.
The World Snooker Tour Statement
“Following extensive consultation between WST, the WPBSA and our many partners in China, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 China Open.”
“This flagship China event had been scheduled for March 30 to April 5 in Beijing, however considering the current health and travel situation in China our highest priority has to be the welfare of our players, staff and the many fans who travel around China and beyond.
“Discussions with our partners in terms of staging this event at a later date are ongoing. In the meantime, our thoughts are with all of our many friends across China and in particular those affected by the coronavirus.”