Malta to Host New World Snooker Federation Tournaments

Malta to Host New World Snooker Federation Tournaments

The World Snooker Federation (WSF) and Malta Billiards & Snooker Association (MBSA) are today delighted to jointly announce the staging of two new WSF events as major amateur events providing qualification to the professional tour.

Two events will be held from 4-17 January 2020 at the Malta Snooker Academy and the San Antonio Hotel, the World Snooker Federation Junior Open (for players aged 17 and under) and the World Snooker Federation Open (All age groups). Both competitions will be open to players of all nationalities and both men and women equally, with the winner of each tournament to earn a two-year tour card to the World Snooker Tour from the start of the 2020/21 season.

Each recognised National Snooker Federation will be given the opportunity to nominate two players to each event for their national champions and top ranked players. This respects the valuable contribution many National and Regional Federations make to the development of talented players. In addition to these nominations, direct entries will then be accepted from players online, making this a truly open event for all players around the world who have aspirations to carve out a career in our sport.

Jason Ferguson, WSF President said: “This groundbreaking new open format for world level amateur events is a significant step forward to ensure we are a sport for all. The WSF are thrilled that this season’s tour qualifying events will be open to all, regardless of nationality, age or gender. Only the best in the world will make it to the World Snooker Tour.

“I am particularly proud that the WSF is developing a focus on junior talent. It is fundamental to the future of our sport that the next generation of talented players are presented with playing opportunities at world level with the unlimited prize of full graduation to the professional sport.

“I would like to extend my thanks to our friends at the MBSA who have once again shown us fantastic support during the planning of this tournament. Our inaugural Championships held in Malta back in 2018 were a real success and it is testament to the quality of the team in Malta that when the opportunity arose to return there for this tournament that we did not hesitate to say yes.”

Frans Bugeja, MBSA President said: “We are delighted to welcome the WSF back to Malta for these prestigious events. We look forward to building upon the success of last year’s great Championships and to see who will follow in the footsteps of 2018 champion Luo Honghao by lifting the open title.”

How to enter

It is anticipated that entry for both events will open during the week commencing 21st October. Confirmation of the entry process will be distributed to all national federations and posted on our website and social media platforms as soon as possible.

Entry for the WSF International Junior Open will be open to players 17 or under up to and including 31 December 2019.

The entry deadline for each event will be 1 December 2019 at 5:00pm.

WSF Championships 2019

WSF Championships 2019

It is with regret that we have taken the responsible decision to postpone the 2019 World Snooker Federation Championships.

It was disappointing that at this late stage the UAEBSA were unable to host us, however in order not to let down players and officials, the WSF board and management team took immediate action and formally secured an alternative location and date in just a few days. We must thank the China Billiards & Snooker Association (CBSA) for their offer of assistance in this matter.

Having reviewed this alternative plan and consulting with federations and partners, it is clear that a number of players may suffer due to travel arrangements and late visas. With this in mind, we feel it would not be appropriate to stage such a prestigious global event without a full international field of entry. We have therefore decided not to proceed with the event at this stage.

The WSF has become a large network for snooker and billiards development and is working to support many projects in regions around the world. World Snooker Tour Qualification is already being earned through WSF membership in the European Championships, Pan American Championship, Africas Championship and Oceania Championship. World Snooker Tour places are also granted to the CBSA through their national tour.

Further playing opportunities are also being developed through WSF member regions and national federations. We are excited to be the supporting partner to the African Billiards & Snooker Confederation for snookers inclusion in the 2019 African Games, something which can only be described as a landmark achievement for our sports globalisation.

The official 2019 World Women’s Snooker Championship, part of the World Women’s Snooker Tour will continue to be staged in the next few months. Further opportunities will be available for federations to nominate players for this event and venue details and dates will be communicated to you soon.

New Academy Opens in Malta

New Academy Opens in Malta

Yesterday saw the successful opening of the Malta Snooker Academy situated at the Maria Assumpta School, Hamrun.

The Academy is the result of a successful project launched by the Malta Billiards and Snooker Association with the support of the World Snooker Federation (WSF) and World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA). The launch follows the first staging of the WSF Championships in St Paul’s Bay back in March, with seven of the tables used at the tournament now installed at the academy and an eighth planned for future use.

The Academy also houses five ‘Little Star’ tables donated by the WPBSA to encourage future development, with all future Maltese divisions and ranking events set to be played at the venue.

The Academy is a fantastic legacy of the WSF Championships and the WSF team would like to wish everyone in Malta the best for the future.

WSF Meetings Held in Thailand

WSF Meetings Held in Thailand

The World Snooker Federation (WSF) held its latest board meeting in Bangkok, Thailand on the 4th of September during the staging of the 2018 SangSom 6-Red World Championship.

For many years Thailand has played host to meetings involving international federations from across the globe. This year’s meetings were held as part of the ongoing sports development plans by the WSF and WPBSA.

Topics discussed at the meeting included the future strategy of the WSF, multi-sport events and the support of the bid for cue sports to be included as part of the programme at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Delegates in attendance included WSF President Jason Ferguson, WSF Vice Chairman Nigel Mawer QPM, WSF General Secretary Maxime Cassis and WSF Treasurer Mike Peachey.

On the 5th of September the WSF board were joined by its regional and continental members. The European Billiards and Snooker Association (EBSA) was represented by John Terry, the Pan American Billiards and Snooker Association (PABSA) was represented by President Ajeya Prabhakar and the Oceania Billiards and Snooker Federation (OBSF) by President Frank Dewens. The Billiards and Snooker Association of Thailand (BSAT) were also respectfully invited as observers.

WSF President Jason Ferguson said “The past few days have been both positive and exciting. There are so many fantastic projects ahead like the development of Pan American Championships, the 2019 Africas Games and finding more opportunities for players who have to travel vast distances from places like Oceania. We have much to do, but with the passionate team of people we have seen this week we are confident that the future of our sport is bright.”

Challenge Tour Nominations Announced

Challenge Tour Nominations Announced

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.

Players

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.

Malta to Host New World Snooker Federation Tournaments

Luo Honghao Wins WSF Championship

The first-ever mixed gender WSF Championship staged by the World Snooker Federation has been won by Chinese teenager Luo Honghao following a 6-0 demolition of Adam Stefanów today in Malta.

Both players progressed to today’s showpiece match following deciding-frame victories yesterday, but the final proved to be a one-sided affair. Luo followed an opening frame break of 52 with further runs of 54, 60 and a spectacular 87 during the last frame before the mid-session interval.

Poland’s Stefanów had been one of the tournament’s most-impressive performers in the run up to the final, but could not find his best form during the title decider and scored just 97 points during the course of the final.

For Luo, the victory not only sees him inscribe his name into history as the first-ever winner of the prestigious new event, but also earns him the top prize of €10,000 and a coveted place on the World Snooker Tour from the start of the 2018/19 season.

“I am really excited to be joining the World Snooker Tour for the first time,” said a delighted Luo. “There were a lot of great players in this event and so I am really happy to win this final.

“I tried my best to win every match and to take every shot like in practice and I am now really excited to be joining the main tour.”

Today’s final brings down the curtain on a landmark event in Malta which has seen three significant titles decided during the past two weeks.

The WSF Championships began with the staging of the World Women’s Snooker Championship and the WSF Seniors Championship, won by Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee and Igor Figueiredo respectively.

The tournaments were followed by the new WSF Championship, a mixed gender event carrying not only a main tour card for the winner, but coveted places at next month’s professional World Championship in Sheffield, won by Luo, Stefanów, Kristjan Helgason and Kacper Filipiak as the quartet reached the semi-finals on Friday.

The World Snooker Federation would like to extend its thanks to all of the players, officials and national federations who have supported what has been a hugely successful event in Malta.