The inaugural Nirvana Turkish Masters is scheduled to take place in March, it was confirmed at a press conference in Antalya on Saturday.
The new ranking event, a first for the professional Main Tour in Turkey, will run from March 7 to 13 at the Nirvana Cosmopolitan Hotel.
A qualifying round prior to the tournament will determine the 64 players who will earn the right to compete in Antalya, which boasts a top prize of £100,000 from an overall purse of £500,000.
Two local amateur wildcards will also be invited to participate as the sport attempts to widen its global reach and appeal again.
The Turkish Masters was originally pencilled in for September before being postponed, and there’ll be many questioning whether there’ll even be a fulfillment of the newer dates either.
World champion Mark Selby was quick to allude to that when replying to WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson on Twitter, sarcastically querying its actual location in the UK.
Silverware on the Main Tour hasn’t been contested for outside the UK since the beginning of 2020 as a result travel concerns and restrictions related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The German Masters and the European Masters are both scheduled to take place in Germany at the start of 2022, but it remains to be seen if any of these trips will actually materialise given the deteriorating state of the pandemic across Europe at present.
The WST and the WPBSA are in an unenviable position in that they have to find ways to keep the circuit active while continuously being forced to deal with the headaches associated with potential postponements and cancellations.
Where will it be in the uk Jason?? 🙄
— Mark Selby (@markjesterselby) December 18, 2021
“The Nirvana Cosmopolitan Hotel is an absolutely superb location to stage what will be a historic event on the World Snooker Tour,” Ferguson said.
“The players will love this stunning venue and it will be an incredible opportunity for fans to see the leading stars and to enjoy the local hospitality in Antalya.”
“Our greatest ambition is to bring our sport to all corners of the globe and to stage an event in Turkey for the first time, where we know there is huge support for snooker, is a crucial step forward.
“We look forward to delivering a top class event and working with our partners in the region: the Turkish Billiard Federation, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Kilit Group and the Nirvana Hotel, along with our promoter Tugba Irten.”
The Nirvana Turkish Masters has been signed to a four-year deal with the tournament set to take place each year until the 2024/25 snooker campaign.