WORLD Snooker has announced it will not stage the World Open this season.
The World Open was first held in the UK in 2011 before it moved to Haikou in China for the next three years in 2012, 2013, 2014. But the contract with the major ranking tournament’s has not been renewed.
The event had been provisionally scheduled for January 26 to February 1, 2015, but has now been removed from the calendar after bosses failed to find a new home for the tournament.
Subsequently, the tournament’s pre-qualifying round in Wigan between December 20 to 22 will now take place.
Mark Allen’s two ranking titles have come from winning the tournament and last year saw Shaun Murphy win his first major in three years when he beat Mark Selby 10-6.
In a statement released earlier today (Friday), World Snooker said they were hopeful of the tournament coming back sometime next season.
The statement reads: “Concerted efforts were made to secure a new home for the tournament, but unfortunately a suitable location has not been found to fit into the season’s busy calendar.
“Options are now being explored for next season with the firm intention to bring the tournament back in 2015/16.”
And World Snooker has also announced the defending champion, world champion and the two highest ranked players from the host country of a selected flat-structure ranking tournament will play their first round match at the venue stage from next season.
This replaces the current system in place where by the defending champion, world champion and the host nation’s biggest stars have to play their first round match in England before reaching the venue stage.
Earlier this year International Championship winner Ding Junhui could not return to China as defending champion as he lost his first round match in England.
The move ensures fans from oversees can still get to see some of snooker’s top stars without the prospect of them getting knocked in an England based qualifier, therefore meaning they miss the trip.
To accommodate the move, the loser of the held-over matches will be paid £2,000 as a contribution towards their travel costs. But this money will not count towards their world ranking.