The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and UAE Cue Sports have announced the launch of a new Middle East Series of events as the latest addition to WPBSA Q Tour Global.
Following the launch of both the Asia-Pacific and Americas Series previously, the Middle East region represents another significant addition to the newly expanded WPBSA Q Tour Global, which will see 24 players contest three places on the professional World Snooker Tour for the next two seasons.
The playoff will feature a minimum of 16 players from the UK/Europe rankings, who will now be joined by up to eight international qualifiers – including one from the Middle East region – from across the globe.
Middle East Series
The WPBSA Q Tour Middle East Series will include three recognised tournaments to be held at the Cue Sports Academy, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi and will operate its own ranking list with the top ranked player following the third event to qualify for the Global Playoff next spring.
The qualifying events will be:
- Event 1 – 4-10 January 2024
- Event 2 – 11-17 January 2024
- Event 3 – 18-24 January 2024
Events will be open to players holding nationality for the following countries:
Middle East: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Kuwait, Qatar
Provisional African countries eligible: Egypt, Libya, Morocco
Provisional European countries eligible: Israel, Turkey
All players cannot have played in Q Tour UK/Europe during this season.
“A key growth area”
Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “I am delighted to welcome the Middle East region to the WPBSA Q Tour Global in what is unquestionably a groundbreaking moment for our sport.
“We have been aware for several years of the great talent that exists in this region, none more so than our former Shoot Out champion Hossein Vafaei on the World Snooker Tour. We firmly believe this project will grow throughout the Middle East with many countries already active in snooker. It is vital that all players have the ability through localised events to have the opportunity to enjoy a successful career in our sport at the highest level.
“I must thank our friend Mohamad Shehab Al Hashmi for his support of this important project. Mohamed Shehab is without doubt the most decorated athlete for cuesports in the Middle East and we look forward to welcoming UAE Cue Sports as a Q Tour host venue next January.”
Mohamed Shehab Al Hashmi said, UAE Cue Sports and 12-time Arab champion said: “It is a great honour for UAE Cue Sports to be able to host these prestigious tournaments, with the top ranked player to be able to represent our region at the Q Tour Global playoff next year.
“The Middle East region is home to so many talented snooker players and we are excited to be able to provide them with this incredible opportunity to be able to compete with the best players around the world and to earn their place on the professional tour.“
Full tournament information, including entry and results will be available via WPBSA SnookerScores in due course.