Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Snooker chief backs Q School

The annual qualifying tournament known as Q School is the fairest method for all snooker players aiming to become a professional, says the chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA).

As well as more tournaments and increased prize money, the World Snooker Qualifying School was introduced by chief Barry Hearn as an incentive to raise standards and provide an equal opportunity for all amateurs attempting to play on the Main Tour. Anyone looking at the best snooker bets will be wondering if anyone can make a breakthrough.

WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said: “Q School was staged for the first time last year and we consider it the best and fairest way to give all players the chance to qualify for the tour.

“Rookies such as Sheffield's Adam Duffy and China's Li Yan came through the system, and both have since climbed quickly up the world rankings, so that shows what players can do if they have the talent and the dedication.”

The event is similar to that seen in golf with the first snooker qualifying event held in Sheffield in May 2011 with 12 players who reached the semi-final stage awarded tour cards.

Next year’s tournament will be staged at the WSA in Sheffield from 13 May where 128 players will battle for a two-season pro tour ticket for 2012-13 and 2013-14 snooker circuits.

A new Q School ranking list is also being introduced and will be finalised on the basis of a one point per frame win.

“Snooker is rapidly becoming a global sport, with more tournaments, more prize money and more players,” Ferguson added. “We are increasing the tour from 96 to 128 players in season 2013-14, so the opportunities to qualify for the main tour have increased dramatically.”

Q School 2012 will feature three events and amateurs can enter the events with just a £1,000 entrance fee. Four semi-finalists from each event will qualify for a two-year pro tour.

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