The much delayed grand final of the World Series of Snooker, originally planned for the Kremlin in Moscow, will now be staged in the Algarve, Portugal the weekend after the World Championship.
The fact that it has changed venues after an initial high profile announcement is something of an embarrassment for organisers but I understand there was a very specific problem relating to the funding for the Moscow event, which would have had security implications.
The first year of World Series has proven two things:
1) It’s actually quite difficult planning and organising snooker tournaments, something the WPBSA and other promoters have also found over the years.
2) If you take snooker to places where it’s popular, people will come and watch it.
For despite the early problems, the World Series remains a good idea. Snooker on mainland Europe is hugely popular because of the widespread coverage of the professional circuit by Eurosport.
The World Series events in Berlin, Warsaw and Moscow were well attended and much enjoyed by the players.
If John Higgins and Pat Mooney hadn't taken snooker to these countries, who else would have done?
There are still areas I believe they need to work on.
One is the format. Getting local players involved is a good idea but a day of walkovers is not. I understand a qualifying system will be used this year and that should help make the action more competitive.
Also – and this applies to snooker in general – getting the media on board is vitally important to building up any sporting event.
However, anyone who mocks this new venture should go and speak to those people in Germany, Poland and Russia who had never seen live snooker before and came away with only positive thoughts about the sport.
Snooker needs as many fans, indeed as many tournaments, as it can find.
For this reason alone the World Series is worth supporting, whatever the difficulties it has experienced in its first year.