The satellite tour will give amateurs an opportunity to compete more regularly.
The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association has announced the relaunch of a new WPBSA Q Tour that will run during the ongoing 2021/22 campaign.
Initially unveiled last June as a replacement for the now defunct Challenge Tour, Q Tour will provide a clear pathway to the World Snooker Tour with two professional places to be won and further high-quality competition for elite amateur talent in the game.
This season a minimum of four Q Tour events will be held, with the top-ranked player at the end of the season guaranteed to earn a two-year tour card.
There will additionally be a play-off tournament featuring 16 players, with the winner of that mini event also set to be awarded a main tour place.
A prize fund of £12,000 will be allocated at each tournament with the number one ranked player on Q Tour and the final play-off winner each earning a bonus of £2,000 upon joining the professional circuit.
It is planned that each of the four events staged this season will be held within the UK due to the continued challenges caused by the global pandemic.
It is, however, the clear intention that from the start of the 2022/23 season, Q Tour will become a global circuit to include regional and international Q Tour competitions.
Each weekend tournament will be made up of 64 players, with the top 40 eligible players from the 2021 Q School Ranking List eligible to compete.
They will be joined by the eight highest ranked junior players on the 2021 Q School Order of Merit, not already qualified.
Tournaments will also include an open entry element through the introduction of preliminary rounds held on the Friday immediately prior to the start of the weekend competition – up to 16 players will qualify to complete the weekend field.
All Q Tour events in England will be held at official 147 Clubs recognised by the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards.
Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “I am today delighted that we are able to announce our plans for the staging of WPBSA Q Tour this season.”
“Snooker has not been immune to the effects of the pandemic, and it is of course the amateur game that has perhaps been most significantly affected as a direct result of the coronavirus restrictions that we have all experienced over the past 18 months.
“I know that it has been an extremely challenging time for these fantastic players and I am grateful for their continued patience as we have worked to provide opportunities to compete.
“The launch of WPBSA Q Tour 2021/22 represents the first of these opportunities and will be a significant addition to our calendar for elite amateur players, providing a direct pathway to the World Snooker Tour.”
It is anticipated that the first Q Tour competition will take place not before November and further information including entry details will be released soon.
Featured photo credit: WPBSA