Tour Structure 2015/16: Making 128 (ish)

As we enter the closing months of the 2014/15 season, attention is beginning to turn to how the tour will look next season, with the European Tour set to reach its conclusion before the end of February and tour places up for grabs at upcoming amateur events such as the European U-21 Championship in March.

Though a full qualification criteria has yet to be confirmed by World Snooker, we can nevertheless draw some conclusions based upon what we do know…

The Top 64 (64)

It is traditionally the case that the top 64 in the official two-year ranking list at the end of the season will automatically retain their main tour place for the following campaign and there is no suggestion that this will be any different this year.

You can view the latest provisional end of season ranking list here at PSB.

Players qualifying via this route will receive a one-year tour card for 2015/16 only.

The ‘Second Years’ (Max 31)

Remember last season that everybody who gained or regained a tour card for 2014/15, who began outside of the top 64, was awarded a two-year tour card?

This means that everybody who is highlighted in green on my provisional end of season ranking list, eg the 31 players who joined or survived on tour last season without having finished inside the top 64 during the previous season, will remain on the tour for the second year of that two-year card.

Interestingly, this amount is five fewer than last season.

The Top Eight (European Order of Merit) (8)


Chris Wakelin – Safe

As was the case in 2013/14, the top eight performers on this season’s European Order of Merit, not already qualified for next season (eg inside the top 64 on the two-year list or already on a two-year card), will earn a tour place.

At the time of writing, those eight players are:

  1. Chris Wakelin (6,833)
  2. Fraser Patrick (4,500)
  3. Joe Swail (4,500)
  4. Noppon Saengkham (4,333)
  5. Jimmy White (3,666)
  6. Allan Taylor (2,749)
  7. James Cahill (2,583)
  8. Stuart Carrington (2,500)

There does remain one event still to run during this season’s European Tour, the Gdynia Open later this month, while there is also still scope for this list to change, depending upon how the main two-year ranking list fluctuates between now and the end of the season.

For example, should one of the above players break into the top 64 on the main ranking list, then an extra place could be opened up to the European Tour.

The eight qualifiers will receive a two-year tour card.

Asian Order of Merit (4)

Similarly, four places will go to the top four players on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, not already qualified for the main tour via other means.

The top four are:

  1. Ross Muir
  2. Sean O’Sullivan
  3. Zhang Yong
  4. Cao Xinlong
MuirRoss Muir – safe

Although all three of the season’s Asian Tour events have now been completed, the above four names could yet change, depending upon whether there are any major changes on the main two-year ranking list between now and the end of the season.

In respect of Sean O’Sullivan, he also looks set to qualify via the European Order of Merit, however will take his tour places through the Asian list due to that series having completed first chronologically.

These players will receive a two-year tour card.

Q School (8)

As was the case last season, eight players will earn a tour card via two Q School events to be staged in Burton at the end of this season.

These players will receive a two-year tour card.

EBSA Play-Offs (2)

In a change to last season, the 2015 EBSA play-offs will see just two players come through a 16 man play-off event later this year to earn main tour cards.

The players involved will be taken from the new EBSA Order of Merit after the Gdynia Open, with the list currently looking like this after five events.

The two successful players will receive a two-year tour card.

International Nominations (9)

Assuming that the international nominations remain as they did last year, that leaves 9 places up for grabs as follows, assuming that they all choose to accept their nominations.


  • 2014 IBSF World Champion – Yan Bingtao
  • 2014 IBSF World Under-21 Champion – Hosein Vafaei Ayouri


  • 2015 Asian Champion – (tbc)
  • 2015 Asian U-21 Champion – (tbc)


  • 2015 European Champion – (tbc)
  • 2015 European U-21 Champion – Darryl Hill


  • One nomination – Itaro Santos


  • 2014 Oceania Champion – Vinnie Calabrese


  • One nomination – (tbc)

These players will receive a two-year tour card.

Invitationals (3/4)

Although not strictly tour places, there are currently three players, namely Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and James Wattana, who have the option to participate in professional events, should there be fewer than 128 entries.

These three players will continue to have that option during the 2015/16 season, while there is also potentially provision for a fourth, perhaps Jimmy White if he were to be relegated from the tour, to receive such an invitation.