World Snooker Tour announces shake-up of calendar

The World Snooker Tour has announced a shake-up of its calendar after it was revealed that China would not host any international sporting events until 2021.

Events such as the Shanghai Masters, the World Open and the International Championship have traditionally been held before Christmas, but the impact of the coronavirus pandemic means they are absent from the first half of WST’s 2020-21 schedule, which was published on Monday.

A selection of UK and European events have been brought forward to fill the gaps, with the Championship League becoming a full ranking event played across three legs in September and October.

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The European Masters moves from a January slot to become the second ranking event of the season in September, while the Shoot Out will run from October 29 to November 1, having previously been held in February.

The Champion of Champions will follow from November 2 to 8.

The Home Nations series is unaffected, with all events barring the Welsh Open taking place before the turn of the year, while the UK Championship also retains its usual spot, with the final set for December 6.

The first event of the Coral Series, the World Grand Prix, will be squeezed in before Christmas, taking place from December 14 to 20, moving from February.

Venues for all events are yet to be confirmed amid uncertainty over when spectators will be permitted to return following an aborted pilot at the World Championship.

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WST chairman Barry Hearn told the organisation’s official website: “In recent months there has been uncertainty for all sports in terms of future events, but we have worked alongside all of our partners to find solutions.

“Our players and fans will be thrilled to see that we have a packed schedule for the first half of 2020-21.

“For the players there are plenty of opportunities to compete and I am delighted to confirm that there will be no reductions in prize money for the above events, despite the current Covid-19 crisis.

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