EIS Sheffield will host the preliminary rounds for the Betfred World Snooker Championship for the third year in a row.
The World Championship qualifying dates have been confirmed and will take place from July 21st to 28th at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
All tour players seeded outside the top 16 will need to make it through the qualifiers in order to secure a spot for the venue stages of the competition, which will run from July 31 to August 16 at the Crucible Theatre.
There will also be 16 players invited by the WPBSA to compete, bringing the field for the qualifying rounds up to 128.
WST and the WPBSA are working closely with the UK government to assist players coming from outside the UK in regard to visas, quarantine, and travel issues.
Regulations on Covid-19 testing, sanitisation, and social distancing at the qualifying rounds will follow government guidelines, with details of the precise arrangements to be announced soon.
Despite the current challenges which sport faces globally, total prize money for the 2020 Betfred World Championship remains at a record £2.4 million, with the winner to receive £500,000.
For this edition there is a new structure for the qualifying tournament, which will be staged behind closed doors this year.
- Round One: 16 players invited by the WPBSA will join the players seeded 81-128, with those 64 competitors in total facing off against one another.
- Round Two: those 32 winners will face the players seeded 49-80.
- Round Three: those 32 winners will face the players seeded 17-48.
- Round Four: those 32 winners will play each other, with the 16 winners going through to the Crucible to face the top 16 seeds.
All matches during the World Championship qualifying dates will be the best of 11 frames, up until Round Four which will be best of 19.
Playing the first three rounds with the shorter format allows those matches to be completed in a single session, and therefore minimises the risk of breaching social distancing guidelines for the safety of players, officials and crew.
Details of the format of Round Four, known as Judgement Day, will be released soon.
WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are delighted to stage the qualifying rounds at the English Institute of Sport as we know from many years of experience that it is a fantastic venue.”
“We look forward to working with the venue to ensure that the health and safety of our players and officials is the highest priority throughout the event.
“We have already proved that we are at the forefront of sport by staging events in the current conditions.
“Alongside the WPBSA we are already doing all we can to give as much assistance as possible to players coming from overseas. We want to see a full and international field.
“The Betfred World Championship, our biggest tournament, starts from the first ball struck of the opening qualifying round.
“Everyone dreams of a place at the Crucible, from legends like Jimmy White and Ken Doherty to exciting young talent.
“The drama of the final round, when places at the Theatre of Dreams are on the line, can barely be matched.
“This is another important step in the right direction as our tour gets back on track.
“While fans will not be able to go to the venue, we expect a further exciting announcement shortly on how fans will be able to watch the live action.”
Featured photo credit: WPBSA