World Snooker Tour have made some changes for the new season, with World Championship qualifying rounds reverting to best of 19 frames throughout, while there has been increases in prize money at some tournaments and tweaks to the distribution of those funds.
World Championship qualifying had changed to best of 11 for the first three rounds during the pandemic, with only the fourth and final round played over a best of 19.
However, WST have confirmed that it will be best of 19 from the off, much to the delight of many fans and players.
A statement confirmed: ‘Based on feedback from the WPBSA and players, WST has taken the decision to revert to best of 19 frames from next season’s qualifying event, to take place in April 2023.’
There is also positive news that the following events have all seen increases in their total prize funds for the forthcoming season: Turkish Masters, British Open, European Masters, English Open, Northern Ireland Open, Scottish Open, German Masters and Welsh Open.
There has been a re-jigging of prize funds within the tournaments, for example at the Home Nations events the losing semi-finalists now get less, but losing quarter-finalists and last 32 players get slightly more, while the winner’s prize has been boosted by £10,000.
The figure that has remained the same, though, is that first round losers receive nothing, which has been a bone of contention for many players and widely discussed in recent months.
There were calls from many in the game, most notably from Ronnie O’Sullivan, for first round losers to at least get expenses paid so they are not operating at a loss to play in events, but it is not something that has come to pass yet.
On the changes to the prize money structure and the lack of funds for first round losers, a WST spokesperson said: ‘We have made prize money increases to various events and we have made amendments which are aimed at creating a more balanced prize money ranking system. These changes are based on discussions and feedback from players and the WPBSA Players Board.
‘Our two biggest ranking events, the World Championship and UK Championship, now have tiered structures and all players inside the top 80 are guaranteed prize money in those events.
‘Our principal remains that we reward excellence and in most events players must win matches to earn prize money.
‘We are constantly aiming to provide as many tournaments and earning opportunities as possible for all players.’
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