Igor Figueiredo will become the first Brazilian to compete on the main tour this coming season after being awarded a wildcard by the WPBSA.

Figueiredo was beaten 10-8 by Alfie Burden in the final of the IBSF World amateur championship last November.

This is a great achievement for Igor who until early last year had only ever played snooker on a ten foot table with ten reds, as is common back home in Brazil.

He has been given one of the two remaining discretionary places in the gift of the game's governing body.

The other has gone to Patrick Einsle from the snooker heartland of Germany.

Einsle failed to make much impact on his debut season on the professional circuit in 2006/07 - although he was only a teenager at the time - but his wildcard is proof of the extent to which Germany is being targeted as a market to be tapped by the new regime, though he will still have to play in the qualifiers for the new German Masters.

Reanne Evans, the women's world champion, was unveiled as a wildcard choice during the Betfred.com World Championship.

There were other deserving candidates but at least some imagination, especially with regards to snooker's global and commercial reach, has been exercised.

It's in complete contrast to last year when the wildcards were merely given to the next three players on the ranking list.

Another main tour place was filled last night when Kuldesh Johal won the English play-off with a 6-4 defeat of Robbie Williams, to the dismay of headline writers the length and breadth of Britain.

Looking ahead, the 2011/12 professional circuit will still comprise 96 players and will be made up of the following:

- The top 64 in the end of season rankings

- The top eight in the Players Tour order of merit not in the top 64 in the end of season rankings

- 12 players from the Cue School, which will take place shortly after the World Championship

- The IBSF world champion, world under 21 champion, three players from Asia, two from Europe and one from each of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland



Excellent choice for the wildcard selections, and another step towards transforming snooker into a truly global game.

I wonder, as one of the gimmicky fillers needed to bring snooker to a new audience, is there a market for some kind of "International challenge", where the top ranked player from each country would form a field for a tournament.

It would serve as a useful tool to introduce countries with only one pro or top amateur to the delights of snooker and would be at least as competitive as the world seniors, as most players wouldn't want to perform poorly while playing for their country.

CHRISK5 said...

Totally agree with the Wildcard choices handed out for the main tour.

Diverse & populist - spot on.

Looking ahead,if Sky Shootout is to be a carnival atmosphere event (even when players are on the shot)

Then - Vuvuzela's must be permitted !! (or just let a load of
swarming bees into the arena !!)

jamie brannon said...

So is James Wattana still on the tour?

Also if Higgins was kicked out of snooker, the world number 66 would have a pro-tour place, that's if he knows in time.

Anonymous said...

dont agree with einsle wildcard he is simply not good enough.

jamie brannon said...

I said 66 as John Parrott is retired, I know Wattana is 68, but I was wondering if he would qualify off the order of merit?

John F said...

I think Wattana has survived courtesy of the one-year list.

Regarding Einsle, he was only something like 19 when he had his debut season, and is he really going to be any worse than the likes of the Northern Ireland no. 1, or the Asian wildcard Nomination?

Witz78 said...

Wattanas on the tour this season as he was among the top 8 on the 1 year list of these outwith the top 64.

Im chuffed to see Figuerido get on the tour, its a cracking story the way his career has gone and it would be great to see him rise up the rankings.

Einsle deserves a chance IMO, when he was previously on tour as a teenager and under the old ranking system it was nigh on impossible for tour newcomers to survive.

Anymore word on whether Brecel may be fast tracked onto the tour for this season?


I think its a bit unfair to criticize Davis for not entering the first pct event.

He may well have had a prior commitment, a poker tournament or a family function to attend. Either way, somebody of Davis' profile would no doubt have a very busy schedule.

I don't see it as a bad thing that a good few top players have not entered.

It gives the lower ranked players an opportunity to pick up points that they might not otherwise have.

Two players non entry though, does surprise me. Ken Doherty and Liang Wenbo, both just inside the top 32 and 16 respectively, might be squeezed out provisionally and will be playing their next match on the back foot.

Anonymous said...

einsle is shocking there are at least a dozen other obvious choiches before him.lets face it hes only got it because of a tournament in germany.they will have to hold his qaulifying games in germany its the only way the garmans will get to see him miss everything.