The WPBSA and World Snooker have today announced further information in respect of the nominated players who will participate in the new Challenge Tour.
To operate as a secondary circuit to the World Snooker Tour, Challenge Tour will comprise 10 events to be staged across the UK and mainland Europe during the 2018/19 season.
The top 64 players on the final 2018 Q School Rankings, excluding those who have qualified for the main tour, will be eligible to compete in each Challenge Tour event.
Up to eight more players will be added to the tour based on the following criteria agreed by the WPBSA in consultation with the World Snooker Federation (WSF):
European WSF Member Federations hosting Challenge Tour Events
- National Champion of Latvia
- National Champion of Belgium
- TBC – EBSA Host European Federation
Players who reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Snooker Federation Mixed Championships
- Kacper Filipiak of Poland
- Kristjan Helgason of Iceland
World Women’s Snooker Tour
- Ng On Yee of Hong Kong (2018 WLBS World Women’s Snooker champion)
- Reanne Evans of England (2017/2018 season end WLBS World Women’s no.1 ranked, or next in line if the same as world champion)
The eighth nomination was the WSF Championship runner-up Adam Stefanów, however it was recently announced that he is now to join the World Snooker Tour from the 2018/19 season.
Should any of the above players not enter a Challenge Tour event, any further players will be selected based upon the Q School Rankings. National federations will not have the option to transfer these invitations to other players.
Challenge Tour will provide a direct pathway to the World Snooker Tour, with the top two players on the final Order of Merit to receive a two-year professional ticket from the start of the 2019/20 season.
There will be a total prize fund of £100,000 to be provided by the WPBSA as part of its ongoing commitment to amateur snooker which has recently seen the formalisation of the International Federation for Snooker, the WSF.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “I am delighted to see the gap between amateur and professional snooker getting smaller with the introduction of the World Snooker Challenge Tour in Europe. We have seen many young talented players coming through in China through competing on the CBSA Tour which provides excellent playing opportunities for leading players in the region. There is a strong appetite from elite performing amateur players across Europe to have similar opportunities as they look to develop a full-time career in our sport.
This new Challenge Tour will not only provide the opportunity to compete at a high-level in match conditions, it will also be a place where as a world governing body we can educate the next generation of players and officials to safeguard our sport’s future.”
The first Challenge Tour event gets underway this Saturday at the Meadowside Leisure Centre in Burton and will run for two days with a total prize fund of £10,000.
World Snooker Federation Championship runner-up Adam Stefanów will take his place on the World Snooker Tour for the first time at the start of the 2018/19 season.
After Lyu Haotian climbed into the top 64 of the world rankings at the end of last season following the first year of his two-year tour card, an extra place has now become available on the professional circuit.
Following consultation between World Snooker, the WPBSA and the World Snooker Federation it has been decided that Poland’s Stefanów is to receive the invitation to join the tour, based on being next in line as runner up in the WSF Championship which was held in Malta earlier this year.
Having described the WSF Championship as his ‘last chance’ to qualify for the professional circuit, the tournament proved to be bittersweet for the 24-year-old as he performed brilliantly to reach the final at the Dolmen Hotel, before falling short to eventual champion Luo Honghao of China.
But Stefanów, who for the past three years has lived in Sheffield, England, will now become the first Polish player to compete on the professional circuit since Kacper Filipiak during the 2011/12 season.
Adam Stefanów said: “This is a dream come true for me! There are millions of people playing snooker around the world and to receive the ticket to the dream that I have had for 13 years of being one the 128 players to play on the main tour is absolutely fantastic.
“I feel ready for the opportunity, I am at the perfect age and I know that I can continue to improve as a player. I have been so dedicated to this sport since I was 11 and am so proud that I will be the first player to represent my country on the professional circuit with a two-year tour card. Snooker is such a huge sport in Poland and I am determined to be able to do something special for our game.”
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “It is a pleasure for us to be able to welcome Adam Stefanów to the main tour as the next player in line following his exceptional performance at the WSF Championship in Malta.
“The WSF is providing inspirational opportunities to amateur snooker players across the globe who demonstrate their commitment to the sport at the highest international level. Adam is a hard working passionate player who has improved tremendously in recent times, he is exactly the type of competitor that the World Snooker Tour requires and he thoroughly deserves a chance to compete amongst the world’s best players.”
The World Snooker Federation (WSF) received unanimous support from its many international members at its first General Assembly held during the first ever WSF Championships at the Dolmen Hotel, Malta.
At the meeting, which began with a presentation setting out the vision of the WSF for the future of snooker globally, delegates representing national federations voted unanimously to ratify the current WSF board and approve its statutes.
The historic meeting was formally opened by President of the Malta Billiards and Snooker Association (MBSA) Frans Bugeja, who was given the honour by WSF President Jason Ferguson.
Ferguson said: “I am delighted to have had the opportunity today to engage in constructive face to face dialogue with the many national federations who have pledged their support to our global development.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Frans and his team at the MBSA who have hosted our inaugural Championships this week. Malta has long maintained a presence in snooker at both amateur and professional levels and I look forward to this continuing in the future.”
The WSF Championships run until 24 March 2018, with the group stages of the first ever WSF Championship commencing this coming Sunday.
The World Snooker Federation (WSF) is pleased to welcome Switzerland as a WSF member country.
Recognised by the WSF as a key European nation for sport, Switzerland is home to our Head Office in Lausanne. Situated on the shores of Lake Geneva in the western part of the country, Lausanne has also been the home of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 1915 when Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Movement, took what would become a historic decision in agreement with the city to establish the headquarters of the IOC there.
The flagbearer for Switzerland on the professional World Snooker Tour is 21-year-old Alexander Ursenbacher, one of Europe’s brightest young stars. Last October he memorably produced a series of incredible performances to reach the semi-finals of the English Open, success which will only help to inspire the next generation of talent in the region.
Jason Ferguson, WSF President said: “We are delighted that Swiss Snooker, the official National Federation for snooker in Switzerland, shares our vision for good sports governance and has committed to join us on our journey ahead.
“Swiss Snooker is one of over 40 National Federations that are part of the European Billiards & Snooker Association and are all holding their own national championships and developing the stars of tomorrow. Together with the unprecedented exposure provided by our broadcasters, in particular Eurosport, which has played a key part in popularising snooker in the region, the future for snooker across Europe looks bright.”
Daniel Holliger, Vice President of Swiss Snooker said: “Swiss Snooker is looking forward to working with the WSF. We share the vision and the professionalism of the WSF in respect of the governance of snooker and are excited about the future opportunities to work together and potentially representation at board level. We wish the WSF every success.”
The inaugural WSF Championships will take place at the Dolmen Hotel, Malta from 14-24 March 2018. The prestigious event will be made up of three events, the WSF Championship, the WLBS World Women’s Snooker Championship and the WSF Seniors Championship.
and Billiards (EASB) has become the latest National Federation to become a full member of the World Snooker Federation (WSF).
Responsible for the governance of amateur snooker and billiards in England, in 2016 the EASB celebrated the 100th anniversary of the English Amateur Championship, snooker’s longest-running competition, pre-dating even the professional World Championship now held at the iconic Crucible Theatre. The 2017 event was won by Billy Castle (pictured above).
The EASB is already working closely with the WPBSA through a partnership organisation known as the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards (EPSB). The partnership is engaged in many projects including women’s snooker, disability snooker and initiatives such as Cue Zone Into Schools.
As a National Federation working alongside professional snooker the EASB already benefits from staging qualifying events to the English Open, a major international event on the World Snooker Tour. Broadcast globally to millions of viewers, this opportunity provides inspiration to many amateur players, who can qualify and enjoy their moment on the world stage.
WSF President Jason Ferguson said: “Of course snooker has a rich history in England with no fewer than 12 English players having lifted the World Championship trophy since Joe Davis first claimed the title in 1927. We are pleased to establish this new relationship with the EASB and create new opportunities for English players at all levels of the sport.
EASB Chairman Jeff Robinson said: “The EASB is proud to support the WSF. Our longer term goal is to work closely with the WSF and EPSB which are associations that look to benefit our sport and enable amateur players and referees to achieve their aspirations.”
The World Snooker Federation (WSF) is today pleased to welcome the Australian Billiards and Snooker Council (ABSC) to the growing number of National Federations to have become full members of the organisation.
For over a century Australia has been a key area for both snooker and billiards, with legendary players such as Walter Lindrum and Horace Lindrum succeeded by modern day greats Eddie Charlton and Neil Robertson. World champion in 2010, Robertson famously came to the UK with £500 in his pocket and has since gone on to earn over £3.5m career prize money and establish himself as one of the world’s best players.
A winner again in Scotland where he claimed his 13th ranking crown only last weekend, already he has provided the inspiration for other players in Australia to follow in his footsteps and his role will be supported by the new development opportunities that will be created under this new cooperation. Already, World Billiards recently successfully held a landmark coaching course at the Reventon Academy, Yarraville Club in Australia.
WSF Treasurer Mike Peachey said: “I am very pleased with the magnificent news that the Australian Billiards & Snooker Council have agreed to join the WSF, and I look forward to positively working with the ABSC Board. Australian players have enjoyed a rich history of champion players in World Billiards and Snooker, and by joining the WSF, there will be major opportunities for the future of all Australian players.”
ABSC President Frank Dewens said: “I am looking forward to the future we have now provided for our aspiring snooker players and the opportunities ahead of them. We have been fortunate in the past with some of the world’s greats in cue sports and we have now laid the foundation for others to follow. I applaud the Board of the ABSC for making the decision to join the WSF.”
The formation of the WSF was instigated by the WPBSA as a global sports governance initiative to bring together both amateur and professional constituent parts of the sport. Full membership to the WSF is open to any official National Federation which shares a vision for clear and transparent sports development.