World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn staged another press conference at the Betfred World Championship today. He announced the following.
The World Cup will be staged in Wuxi, China every two years for the next ten years. This year’s event will take place from June 24 to 30. There will be 24 two-man teams from 23 nations (with host nation China to enter two teams). Total prize money will be $800,000. The teams will be announced after Q School.
The winner of next season’s Coral Cup, awarded to the player who wins the most money across the three Coral Series events, will receive an extra £100,000 bonus. This replaces the possibility of rounding up the prize money from £375,000 to £500,000 if a player wins all three events.
The first round losers in the three Coral Series events will receive the relevant prize money, but that money will not count towards their ranking tally.
In the Home Nations series events, the top 32 players will be seeded into the draw, with all other players drawn at random. Previously, only the top 16 were seeded.
High break prizes will go up next season, and there will be no discrepancy between the qualifying rounds and final stages in terms of breaks counting for the high break prize. This compensates for the scrapping of the rolling £5,000 for 147s, which has been replaced by the potential £1 million bonus for 20 or more 147s in a season, as previously announced.
Slow play will be closely monitored. The introduction of Average Shot Time on our website has helped speed up play. There are only a handful of players now consistently over 30 seconds a shot across the season. We will continue to monitor the situation and we are keeping our referees up to date with those players who are still lagging behind.
Toilet breaks are sometimes used as a form of gamesmanship and this clearly cannot be allowed. We will be in consultation with the players themselves, and the Players’ Commission in particular, to bring in some rules that are workable on toilet breaks.
Overall, I’m extremely satisfied with the level of entertainment being provided by the players. This has been a major reason for an escalation of TV ratings this year. In particular, the Coral series on ITV was a huge success and the World Championship and the other major events on the BBC are showing growth, while there is also significant growth on Eurosport.
The whole tournament schedule for the 2019/20 season will be published tomorrow. We’re aiming at 20 ranking events plus a range of invitational events, with total prize money estimated at £15 million.
Q School Asia will be taking place towards the end of the 2019/20 season alongside the traditional Q School here.