Fight For The 99: 2012/13 (Updated)

With Michael Leslie’s victory in the European U-21 Championship confirming another tour place for next season, it is as good a time as any to consider who will be joining him in 2012/13. While there is set to be a shake-up in 2013/14 as the main tour increases to 128, for next season at least, the route onto the main tour looks to be a familiar one for those wanting to be a professional…

EDIT: Post updated following official confirmation from World Snooker on 21st March 2012

  • Click here to view the official pdf at World Snooker

The Top 64

Ok so this bit shouldn’t change. Ever heard anyone mention the ‘all-important top 64’ before? Well this is because the top 64 in the two year rankings at the end of the season will automatically retain their main tour place for the following campaign.

As a result therefore it is hugely important for those currently on the tour to try and finish in that group and those inside it also have the benefit of not having to start each tournament from the very first round, unlike the remaining 32 players. Furthermore it also ensures that those lower down the rankings have something to play for throughout the season, particularly with the year-ending World Championship carrying extra points.

You can view the very latest two year rankings here and see who is currently well placed to finish inside the top 64.

Interestingly, players qualifying via this route will receive a one-year tour card for 2012/13 only.

The Top Eight (PTC Order of Merit)

Li Yan – Safe

So what if a player ends the season outside of the top 64? What used to happen is that the top eight performers on the one-year list would be given a lifeline, ensuring that those new to the tour at least had a fighting chance of survival.

As was the case in 2011 however, now it is the top eight performers on the PTC Order of Merit, not already ranked inside of the top 64 on the two-year list, who will survive. The only difference this season is that amateurs falling within that bracket are now also able to gain a main tour spot via this route.

So for 2012/13 what does this mean in practical terms?

The players highlighted in yellow on my latest projected seedings list will retain their tour places via this route as follows:

  1. Li Yan (4,400)
  2. Passakorn Suwannawat (3,700)
  3. Simon Bedford (3,400)
  4. Dechawat Poomjaeng (3,400)
  5. Craig Steadman (3,400)
  6. Kurt Maflin (3,200)
  7. David Grace (3,000)
  8. Liam Highfield (3,000)

These players will receive a two-year tour card.

Q School – 12 Places

As was the case last season, twelve places will go to the Q School, which will see three tournaments staged in quick succession with the semi-finalists of each earning a place on the main tour for next season. Importantly, players falling off this tour this year can enter, ensuring an immediate ‘return’ to the professional circuit.

These players will receive a two-year tour card.

International Nominations

That leaves 12 places up for grabs, all of which will be made up of international nominations.


  • 2011 IBSF World Champion – Hossein Vafaei Ayouri
  • 2011 IBSF World Under-21 Champion – Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon


  • 2012 Asian Champion – (won by Aditya Mehta, who has already received India nomination)
  • 2012 Asian U-21 Champion


  • 2012 European Champion
  • 2012 European U-21 Champion – Michael Leslie


  • China x2
  • Thailand x1
  • India x1 – Aditya Mehta


  • Two nominations – Tony Drago, Luca Brecel


  • One nomination (Canada for 2012/13) – Alex Pagulayan


  • One nomination


These players will receive a two-year tour card.

Gone then are the usual nominations for England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, replaced by those for Asia, Oceania, Europe and more.

It is interesting that the 2012 European Championship will be staged between 4-14 June 2012, coming after the qualifiers for the Wuxi Classic and Australian Goldfields Open next season which would put any potential winner at an immediate disadvantage,

At present there are no spaces for wildcard players, although should more than one of the above spots be taken by the same player, there would be scope for World Snooker to nominate a player at their discretion.

Stay tuned for more updates as we head into the spring months…