Snooker players dreaming of earning a place on the World Snooker Tour will have their chance at Q School 2021, starting on May 27th at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield.
Q School has been running since 2011 and gives all amateur players the chance to qualify for the professional tour.
David Gilbert came through Q School and is now a top 16 star
This year there will be 14 places available, in the tournament scheduled to run from May 27th to June 13th. Three tournaments will be staged consecutively, each lasting six days (subject to entries). The four semi-finalists in each event will all earn a two-year tour card for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons. Plus the next two highest players on the Order of Merit will also earn a card. All matches will be best of seven frames.
For the first time, a seeding system will be used. Players relegated from the Tour at the end of the 2020/21 season, along with leading players from the 2020 Q School Order of Merit, will make up 64 seeded players in each Q School event. These players will be seeded apart from one another in the opening rounds of the event so that they do not meet before the Last-64 round.
Q School is open to all players from around the world, regardless of nationality, age or gender, providing they are in good standing with their national federation. The entry fee is £1,000.
The event will follow Government guidance on Covid-19 and players who enter will be provided with further information in line with that guidance.
WST Chairman Barry Hearn OBE said: “We are delighted to go ahead with Q School and to give so many aspiring players the chance to win the ultimate golden ticket: a place on the World Snooker Tour. For anyone with the talent and ambition, this is the opportunity to chase your dream.
“This time there are 14 places up for grabs, so everyone in the field has three bites at the cherry, plus the goal to finish as high up the Order of Merit as possible. And it’s a fantastic innovation to introduce a seeding system for the first time, to reward those who were successful last year.
“Despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, we have a tremendous record of successfully and safely staging many events over the past year, working closely with our Government advisors. All players can feel confident that we will follow all required health and safety measures.
“This is the ten-year anniversary of Q School and we have seen so many great players come through the system, not least David Gilbert who is now a top 16 star. Plans for the 2021/22 season are still developing but without doubt, the 128 tour players will have a packed calendar and outstanding levels of prize money to compete for.
“We are thrilled to be working with the team at Ponds Forge as it is a superb venue which has hosted many of our events in the past.”
A separate ranking list will be compiled during Q School with players earning one point for every frame won. During the 2021/2022 season, should the number of entries in any WST event fall below the required number of entrants, subject to wildcards and commercial agreements, the highest ranked players from the Q School ranking list will be used to top up to the required number of entrants.
Further opportunities may become available for the top 32 players on the Order of Merit who do not qualify for the Tour, on the WPBSA Q Tour. This remains subject to the easing of travel and Covid restrictions.