The decision could have a direct impact on numerous tournaments on snooker’s calendar.
It has been reported that China has taken the decision to cancel all international sporting events until 2021.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that has spread across the world is the obvious reason, with the country’s General Administration of Sports calling for “science and order” in keeping the coronavirus under control in the country.
Just how many events that will be postponed or cancelled during the yet-to-begin 2020/21 snooker season remains to be seen.
However, during the first half of the last campaign, there were three ranking events in addition to the Shanghai Masters scheduled before Christmas.
All four events boasted huge prize funds and this potential loss of revenue, both for the sport and the players, will be difficult to take.
The World Snooker Tour and WPBSA have done well overall in trying to return to the sport to a certain degree of normality in the last couple of months.
A non-ranking Championship League and the prestigious Tour Championship were successfully staged in Milton Keynes ahead of the rescheduled World Championship that is due to take place later this month and into August in Sheffield.
But the comeback from the lockdown hasn’t been without its problems, with several non-UK players choosing to not enter the World Championship – most of them notably players from China.
Confirmed all international sporting events cancelled in China until at least 2021. Going off last year’s calendar that would impact Shanghai Masters, International Championships & China Championship.
More pressure on players in the World Championship Qualifiers?
— Deco800 (@Deco800_) July 10, 2020
This new development of China cancelling international sporting events will heap further pressure on the sport’s authorities to create sufficient amount of playing and earning opportunities for all of the competitors on the circuit.
Whether or not the calendar can be reshuffled to allow more Chinese events to take place in the second half of the next term in 2021 is a major asking point.
It would be a huge undertaking for a number of reasons, and there isn’t even any guarantee that China will allow international events at that time either.
That said, there have been calls to reorganise the calendar in the past in an effort to better group the tournaments, and this could be a unique opportunity to try to tackle that issue for the long term.
Either way, snooker faces many more headaches as the complicated revival of the sport continues.
Featured photo credit: WPBSA