Q School will be held this summer with a dozen spots available for amateurs to gain promotion onto the Main Tour.
The World Snooker Tour has revealed details about its 2020/21 tour structure intentions – with there set to be at least 125 players on the circuit next season.
Following the successful opening week of the Championship League in Milton Keynes, and with at least two more tournaments in the 2019/20 campaign still to be completed, WST is turning its attention to the next term.
There had been speculation as to what might happen with regard tour survival, but the answers to those issues seem to have been determined.
As it stands, and obviously subject to the ongoing unpredictable recovery from COVID-19, the Main Tour will generally follow its usual format.
The biggest takeaway is that there will actually be a Q School where amateur players will have their opportunity to fight for a place as a professional.
Originally scheduled for May but cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown in the UK, the 2020 Q School is instead due to take place during this year’s rescheduled World Championship – which runs from July 31st to August 16th.
The precise dates, venue, and further details for Q School will be announced soon and it will be run according to the government guidelines at the time.
Staging Q School during this period will allow the dozen winners to join the tour in time for the start of the 2020/21 season.
The 2020/21 Tour Structure is as follows:
-The top 64 from the official two-year rankings at the end of the 2019/20 season
-The top four players on the one-year rankings (outside the official top 64)
-35 players in the second year of a two-year tour card
-Two players from the Challenge Tour: Lukas Kleckers and the winner of the Play-Off event.
-World Snooker Federation Open Champion: Ashley Hugill
-World Snooker Federation Open runner-up: Iulian Boiko
-World Snooker Federation Junior Open Champion: Gao Yang
-World Snooker Federation Junior Open runner-up: Sean Maddocks
-EBSA European Champion: Andrew Pagett
-EBSA European Under-21 Champion: Aaron Hill
-Two players from the CBSA China Tour: Pang Jun Xu and Zhao Jianbo
-12 players from Q School
Total: 125 players
In addition, if any player comes through the qualifying rounds to reach the final stages of the Betfred World Championship at the Crucible but finishes the season outside the official top 64, he or she will earn a two-year card under the revised 2020/21 tour structure plans.
WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “This is a fantastic announcement for all of those amateur players around the world who were unsure whether Q School would go ahead in the current circumstances.”
“Snooker is open for business! We already have a very successful event in progress at the Matchroom.Live Championship League, setting an example in terms of testing, sanitisation and social distancing which other sports will have to try to follow.
“Our remaining WST events this season will be played over the coming weeks, keeping our players busy on the table and plenty of live snooker on television and online.
“Q School was originally planned to start on May 18th but will now be played at the same venue as the World Championship qualifiers, with the venue to be announced shortly.
“As usual there will be three tournaments, with the four semi-finalists from each of them earning a tour card.
“This is the chance for players around the globe to chase their dream and earn a coveted place on the World Snooker Tour for the next two years.
“We realise there will be challenges for players overseas to travel to the UK for Q School but it is vital that we make this opportunity available for all players.
“We cannot sit back and allow circumstances to set our sport back when we have made so much progress in recent years.
“We are liaising with the UK government with the intention to help players coming from overseas.
“As we move forward we will examine every route towards staging events, providing prize money for our players and coverage for our fans, while working with government to keep the safety of all concerned as the highest priority.”
The Championship League began last Monday, making snooker one of the first sports to return to competitive action in the UK.