World Snooker Confirm Main Tour Wildcards

As was rumoured, World Snooker have today confirmed the four main tour wildcards for the 2009/10 season and it is obvious that they have gone for experience over youth. In addition the final Asian nomination has now been confirmed so we now know the full 96 players who make up the main tour next season…

The four wildcards as confirmed here are:

While the Asian nomination goes to:

  • Mei Xiwen

I am not sure whether World Snooker were wary of awarding the wildcard places to younger players after last season’s choice Liu Chuang endured a tough season, but in selecting three experienced players who lost their places at the end of 2008/9, there has clearly been a change in approach.

I have to say that I think it is somewhat disappointing that they have not at given at least one place to an up and coming youngster, or at least someone who had a strong amateur season last year. I have absolutely nothing against Gray, Preece and Norman personally but each of them has been on the tour for at least two years and has had a fair chance to retain a main tour place on merit. While they might have had the strongest claims on paper, I would rather have seen someone who has had a great 2008/9 season in the amateur events given a chance.

Joe Jogia’s inclusion however is a surprise as I had believed that he would take up a place due to his performances in finishing top of the PIOS. As stated on the World Snooker article however, it transpires that he was unable to qualify via the PIOS as he is not a member of his national governing body. While he has experience of the main tour like the other three players therefore, I think that it is a good decision to award him a spot for next season.

What Jogia’s entry via this route also means is that Chris Norbury, who we had thought had missed out on the tour by finishing 9th on the PIOS, just 10 points short of direct qualification, is given the final PIOS place after all. Given that he did manage to win one event and managed to come so close to 8th, I am pleased that he has managed to make the step up.

Finally the Asian nomination has gone to Mei Xiwen, who last month managed to reach the final of the Asian National Championship before losing out 7-3 to James Wattana.

For the full 96 and how they earned their place, please click here.