World Snooker Unveils Q School Plans

It may be a few months away at present but World Snooker have now revealed a little more information regarding the new qualifying school which will determine 12 of the 96 main tour spots next season…

For the latest news story please click here, although you will note that there is now a separate website for the Q School which you can access by clicking here.

In summary however, the key points are:

  • Twelve places will be available for the 2011/12 main tour from the Q-School route, which will see three separate tournaments played, the four semi-finalists from each booking their professional places.
  • The three tournaments are scheduled to take place between 11th-31st May 2010, subject to change
  • The tournaments will be staged at the EIS in Sheffield
  • All amateur players aged over 16 on the 11th May 2011 will be eligible, including players who will drop off the tour at the end of the 2010/11 season.
  • The entry fee for all three tournaments will be £1,000, something that the lucky 12 will be able to use towards their entry fees for the 2011/12 season. There will however be no other forms of prize money.
  • The format/entry levels and draws are all unconfirmed at this early stage

So then, how does this compare to the PIOS system of old? Naturally the quotes from players over at the official website are positive, but from a neutral point of view it is immediately evident that the event does make a great deal of sense for the international players. Having to travel over from their respective nations throughout the season previously for previous seasons, it will be easier both logistically and financially to come over for a few weeks in May in an attempt to earn their tour card.

It is also good to see that players relegated from the tour can regain their place immediately without having to spend a season on the PIOS. Ultimately these days there are more than 64 players who are capable of competing on the tour and it is good to see that those who might be unfortunate to lose their places do at least have the opportunity to save themselves.

The drawbacks? That the qualification campaign is condensed into one month will disadvantage a player who is ill for example or is not able to perform at his or her best during that timeframe, meaning that they will have to wait a year until they can next enter the competition. Under the previous system they would at least have a chance to earn a place over the course of a season, allowing for a dip in form. On the flip side however it could be argued that the PIOS events were so infrequent that there was no such thing as form!

It is also a shame that there is no form of prize money, even if it were just a couple of hundred pounds to cover travel expenses. I understand that the tour card is the prize but it does smack of an attempt to make some money at the same time. Aren’t I the cynical one?

What do you think? Good or bad idea?