Effective immediately, World Snooker is implementing a new system for withdrawals from the first round of any World Snooker ranking event. This system will provide the opportunity for replacement players to be used in events where players withdraw with sufficient notice before the first round of an event. In doing so, this will hopefully reduce the number of walkover matches in events and provide a fairer system.
Withdrawals after the proposed cut off point, which will be close of play (17:00) on the penultimate business day prior to the start of an event, will not result in a standard fine. Instead, circumstances of the reason for withdrawal will be requested and World Snooker will apply an appropriate and proportional fine taking account of the full circumstances of the withdrawal. These new rules for withdrawal are summarised below:
• Withdrawal after the closing date, but before the draw has been performed, will result in no fine imposed.
• Withdrawal after the draw has been performed, but before close of play (17:00) on the penultimate business day prior to the first day of qualifying (Proposed Cut Off Point), will result in a fine from the appropriate level of the tiered fine system, as is currently the case for all players. In these circumstances, World Snooker will seek to replace the player with the Next Highest Ranked Eligible Player, in a straight swap in the draw.
• Withdrawal after the Proposed Cut Off Point (Late Withdrawal) will result in an appropriate and proportional fine, taking account of the full circumstances of the withdrawal. In these circumstances, World Snooker WILL NOT make a place available in the draw for the next highest eligible player.
• World Snooker reserve the right, as provided within the Players Contract section 7, a, ii, to impose any such sanction against a Player as World Snooker consider appropriate at their sole discretion for a withdrawal without exceptional mitigating circumstances that is provided after the Proposed Cut Off Point.
• For the avoidance of doubt, it would be highly likely that the fine imposed for a Late Withdrawal will be higher than the fine that would have been imposed under the tiered fine system as it is considered by World Snooker that a late withdrawal is more damaging to the reputation of the sport. World Snooker will consider exceptional mitigating circumstances as part of this process and reserve the right to not impose any fine if no fine is considered appropriate.
• The ‘Next Highest Ranked Eligible Player’ will be either:
i) the next highest ranked professional player who otherwise didn’t qualify for the tournament, or
ii) the next highest ranked player on the Q School Top Up list If the next highest ranked professional player had already been afforded the opportunity to enter and compete in the tournament and had not accepted this invitation before the expressed deadline.
• An example of the Proposed Cut Off Point: the International Championship qualifiers are currently due to start on the 26th September (TUESDAY), the penultimate business day prior to the first day of qualifying will be 22nd September (FRIDAY) so any withdrawal after 17:00 on Friday 22nd September would be considered a Late Withdrawal.
• The Late Withdrawal option will not be applicable in either the Paul Hunter Classic or Gibraltar Open, or any similarly formatted Pro-Am event. In these events there will be no replacement of any player who withdraws.
• This process only applies to the first round of an event, any withdrawal after the first round of an event will automatically qualify as a Late Withdrawal and there will be no replacement player.