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WST reverses “bizarre” decision to alter qualifying criteria

It took only a day for WST to backtrack on a decision to bring forward the cut-off point for the Players Championship.

On Thursday, the World Snooker Tour announced its intention to set the 16-player field for the Cazoo Series event after the conclusion of the German Masters rather than the Welsh Open in February.

It would have meant one less tournament on the calendar counting towards the qualification process.

The decision drew an immediate backlash from players, who took to social media to vent their concerns.

“How can you change the cut off point for the Players Championships half way through a season. Now the Welsh Open won’t count for it #bizarre,” Mark Williams tweeted.

The likes of Mark Allen and Mark Selby both agreed in reply, with the former suggesting that the sport’s powers were having a “shocker”.

“Players entered certain events knowing when the cut off was,” said Allen, who as the top-ranked player from this season wouldn’t have been impacted.

“Ridiculous they’ve now changed it even if it is to give players more notice of when they play in Players. Was the same every other year and they didn’t care then.”

Former world number one Selby questioned who was making these decision, while Judd Trump added a sarcastic “incredible” for good measure.

On Friday, WST shifted into reverse and released a statement to announce that the previous criteria would remain in operation after all.

“Following the announced change to the seeding cut off for the 2023 Players Championship, the decision has today been taken to revert to the original seeding cut off point of after the 2023 BetVictor Welsh Open,” WST published on its website.

“The announced change was made for good reasons to assist scheduling and planning for players; however, it is recognised that it is mid-season, and this decision should be considered at the end of the season and in advance of a full calendar.

“The top 16 players on the one-year ranking list at the end of the BetVictor Welsh Open, which finishes on February 19, will qualify for the Players Championship which runs from February 20 to 26.”

While the correct call was ultimately made in the end, it is concerning how there are people behind the scenes who believed it was okay to make such a drastic moving of the goalposts during the campaign in the first place.

Attaining transparency and consistency shouldn’t be a lot to ask for, but they are two things that too often seem to be called into question within snooker.

Featured photo credit: WPBSA

One Comment

  1. Jay Brannon

    You can’t do that mid season but some of these cut-offs are far too close to certain events. The Welsh Open finishes the day before action starts at the Player’s Championship. This isn’t fair on ITV who can’t market the event properly or even schedule the matches until the very last minute as the field might not be finalised until the Welsh Open final is concluded.

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