Players on the World Snooker Tour will be guaranteed to earn a minimum of £20,000 during the 2022/23 season, under a new system which offers them security in a difficult economic climate.
The initiative will be introduced with immediate effect, with players to be offered payments of up to £10,000 in September, and a further £10,000 in January.
These payments are set against prize money, so players otherwise earning £20,000 or more over the season will have the up-front payments deducted from their prize money earnings. The system will particularly benefit those who would otherwise earn less than £20,000 in prize money.
WST Chairman Steve Dawson
WST Chairman Steve Dawson said: “We are delighted to join forces with the WPBSA and its players organisation to fund this new programme. We recognise that these are tough times for many people given the cost of living crisis and that a £20,000 guarantee provides an important level of reassurance for many players who need to plan and prepare for life on tour.
“The top stars on our tour earn vast sums, in fact three years ago we saw Judd Trump become the first player to earn £1 million in prize money in a single season. But we recognise that further down the rankings, there are no guarantees. We have brought in this new system to support the many talented players who may need a level of security to fund their snooker careers.
“Before Matchroom took control of the sport in 2010, overall prize money had sunk as low as £3.5 million and all players had to pay around £5,000 a year in entry fees. We have since scrapped entry fees and the prize money levels are far higher. Due to the pandemic, we have not been able to stage ranking events in China since 2019, which has adversely affected our tour. But we will return to China as soon as restrictions are reduced, and we are striving to create new events, as we have done with the British Open, Turkish Masters, Hong Kong Masters and World Mixed Doubles.”
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson added: “This new initiative is a fundamental shift in the way we are underpinning the future of our sport. This clearly shows the importance of our new structure at the WPBSA where players are represented and listened to through their own WPBSA players body, and I would like to thank the WPBSA players board for their support. In addition, this demonstrates the value of becoming a World Snooker Tour card holder where we take talent retention and the welfare of our players seriously.”
The new system, open to all 130 tour players, will run this season on a trial basis before the decision is made whether to continue next season.