Barry Hearn was at the Crucible today to unveil a raft of announcements for the 2011/12 season.

As revealed on this blog last month, there will a ranking event staged in Australia in July.

This will immediately follow the World Cup in Bangkok, which will be a biannual event.

There will be eight seeded teams - Australia, China, England, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales - from a field of 24. The winning team receives a cheque for $200,000.

There will be a new format for the Premier League next season as it becomes a World Snooker event.

In order that any player can qualify, the ten man field will be filled based on tournaments won.

Therefore, confirmed are defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan, Championship League winner Matthew Stevens plus ranking event winners Ali Carter, Neil Robertson, John Higgins, Mark Williams, Shaun Murphy and Judd Trump.

Ding Junhui qualifies as Masters champion and if one of the above wins the World Championship, Jimmy White will get a call up as world seniors champion.

Sky Sports will screen the Shootout, won this season by Nigel Bond, for the next three years having broadcast a World Snooker event for the first time for seven years in January.

Hearn also revealed talks are underway with Paul Mount to stage some PTCs and/or qualifiers at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester rather than having them all in Sheffield, which would mean access for spectators.

Prize money on the circuit will rise above £6m and there looks like there will be 10-11 ranking tournaments, plus the new Brazilian Masters.

Hearn also wants players to come forward to record a new version of the Chas 'n' Dave 'classic' Snooker Loopy, which reached no.6 in the chart 25 years ago.

The mind boggles, frankly, as to who would want to take part in this...but we will see.

So there will be plenty of snooker next season and plenty of reasons to be optimistic in this new era for the game.


Anonymous said...

Any news choice of venue? its rumoured the World Open will move to China, The UK is back in York and The Masters heads away from Wembley

Anonymous said...

Snooker Loopy FTW! :-)

Anonymous said...

all great news except for the "lets try to shoehorn jimmy'wellpastit'white"

ali said...

Superlative, Barry. Keep up the great work.

ali said...

Also, will the premier league become a ranking event now?

Anonymous said...

of course not ALI

Anonymous said...

Also, will the premier league become a ranking event now?

the PL is more of a joke now so what do you think ?

porridge said...

I welcome the extra players for the Premier League, and obviously understand the need to shorten the matches in order to get 3 matches for each evening. All this is fine. The qualification criteria is clear or even brilliant.

And I don't mind the 20 second shot clock instead of 25, but that should really come with some clarification about the amount of timeouts because it'd obviously need tweaking. I'd definitely introduce separate "rest shot timeouts", so you could have unlimited amount of rest shots without the need of hurrying. Of course, this must be implemented with a twist. Once you get the rest on the table, and the timeout is on, the player cannot change his mind then and he has to use the rest even if he found a better alternative that wouldn't normally require a rest.

All in all, I'd say 20 second shot clock without tweaking some other rules would be a bad joke indeed.

Even though I like the original Snooker Loopy and find it a hugely inspiring record, I'm very sceptic about any "remixes" on at least 500 levels. Or even more. :)

Betty Logan said...

Snooker Loopy 2 should be a ballad, with Ebdon on the piano dueting with Dominic Dale. Let's go for class, instead of the "we know it's crap but it's just a bit of fun for charity" attitude.

As for the Premier League, I think shorter matches and a lower time limit are a mistake. I don't see the need for tweaking the format. Currently there are 7 players and 24 matches in total, but with ten players they could go with two groups of five giving us 23 matches in total. They could even play one group in Britain and the other in Germany. Four frame matches and 20 seconds are too short on both counts.

Anonymous said...

The new snooker song should be Ronnie and Shaun Murphy a capella.

Anonymous said...

The talk is that Academy venue in gloucester will stage two ptcs and the uk qualifiers.
must be good news for the fans to be able to go there and watch the snooker live again. shame theres not more events down there. its a great venue.
im playing in their pink ribbon event. all the entry money goes to charity so it shows theyve got their hearts in the right place as well. i think any player can go into that and play against the pros.
world snooker also basing their coaching from there so its good that ws have given Paul Mount and his team the recognition they deserve for their hard work and dedication to the sport.

Anonymous said...

Imagine the team spirit if ROS and Selby have to pair up!