The action for the new campaign is set to get under way in less than a month.
The draw for the first ranking event of the 2021/22 snooker season has been made, with the next term now one step closer to commencing.
The Championship League returns to the schedule with a start date of July 18th at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
Various incarnations of the Championship League have taken place over the last couple of years, but this one will be a ranking event comprising the full Main Tour.
That means the likes of world number one Judd Trump and six-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will be among those participating in the tournament that carries a total prize fund of £328,000.
Crucible champion Mark Selby is a high-profile absentee, however, with several spots in the line-up going to top-up amateurs from the Q School order of merit.
This version of the Championship League will take place across three main stages, with earnings worth £33,000 on offer for the player who ends up being the last person standing.
Stage One will take place throughout July and into August, with the 128-player field divided into 32 round-robin groups consisting of four players in each.
The winners from each group advance to Stage Two, which will follow a similar format, before the two winners from Stage Three eventually contest the final.
Each match in the round-robin phases lasts just four frames, with three points awarded for a win and one point for a draw.
O’Sullivan, who failed to win a single piece of silverware during a barren 2020/21 campaign, will begin his effort in a group that also features former women’s world champion Ng On Yee in addition to Mark Joyce and Ian Burns.
Trump, who was last year’s runner-up, will take on Anthony Hamilton, Lee Walker and Rod Lawler, while reigning champion Kyren Wilson has Sam Craigie, Ben Hancorn, and Dylan Emery for company.
The likes of Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams, John Higgins, Mark Allen, and Stephen Maguire are also bidding to get their 2021/22 seasons off to a positive start in the ranking event.
These players will be among the favourites for glory in this edition of the Championship League, and tonybet.com/ca has all the latest betting odds for a range of sports if you fancy taking a punt.
That said, with such a short format, there is the possibility that one of the lower-ranked competitors could spring an upset of sorts and land some early-season success.
The Championship League isn’t normally an event that attracts much interest, but considering the long gap in between Selby being crowned world champion for a fourth time and the first shots of the new campaign, a lot of fans will probably be eager to get things going again with any kind of action.
Information on how to watch the Championship League has yet to be announced, but the WST has said that it will reveal the details soon.
Featured photo credit: CLSnooker