Snooker clubs throughout England will be given the opportunity to host tournaments on the sport’s new Challenge Tour next season.
World Snooker recently announced that the Challenge Tour would run from the 2018/19 season as a secondary circuit to the World Snooker Tour. There will be ten events across the UK and Europe, featuring the leading 64 players from the Q School ranking list plus wild cards. There will be a £100,000 prize fund for the tour provided by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association which through its recent formation of a new International Sport Federation (World Snooker Federation) is looking to reshape the amateur pathway to the World Snooker Tour. Each event will have prize money of £10,000 and the top two players on the final Order of Merit will be promoted to the professional tour.
World Snooker is now supporting the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards (EPSB) and its new 147 Club affiliation scheme to give clubs that hold gold membership the chance to host tournaments.
As well as the prestige associated with having many of snooker’s former pros or aspiring players competing in tournaments, the benefits to clubs hosting events will include:
- Tables to be recovered for event with tournament cloth
- Club to retain sets of tournament balls
- Tournament Directors and Referees all provided
Clubs will soon be given the opportunity to submit an application to host an event. They must be affiliated to the 147 Club as gold members, which supports snooker provision through the benefits the scheme provides.
World Snooker Director and EPSB Chairman Jason Ferguson expressed his excitement for the future of the tour by saying:
“The Challenge Tour will be become an essential stepping stone onto the professional tour for any aspiring amateur. In its infancy the tour will have events across Europe in its first year. However, in subsequent years we hope to have opportunities in other continents as we implement a modern and global approach to the amateur game. By aligning with the EPSB and the 147 Club scheme we are looking for National Federations and clubs themselves to not only strive to provide the best facilities to play in but ensure they are safe environments under a regulated structure that can nurture the future of our great sport.”
The English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards (EPSB) is an umbrella organisation that will align the interests of the affiliated bodies and create projects to inspire and drive awareness of snooker and billiards to new participants in England. Its objectives are to increase participation, improve facilities and promote cue sports with an inclusive approach providing an opportunity for all.
It brings together the English Association of Snooker and Billiards (EASB) , World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association Limited (WPBSA), World Billiards (WBL), World Ladies Billiards and Snooker (WLBS) and World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS).
For more information about the EPSB and the 147 Club, visit www.epsb.co.uk