The World Snooker Tour has revealed its new calendar for the new season and it includes a big change to its Home Nations events.
Over the past few years the Home Nations tournaments in the snooker calendar have included the English Open, Scottish Open, Northern Ireland Open and the Welsh Open.
From next season, which is scheduled to start in July, the home nations events will see a change to their usual flat-draw format which will see the top 16 players guaranteed a place in the main draw.
This means there will be an introduction of a new qualifying round, like what was previously seen for ranking events held in China and outside the UK before the coronavirus crisis.
World Snooker Tour said: “The Home Nations events will have a new structure this season, with a qualifying round for players seeded outside the top 16. All players will start in the same round, but the top 16 will play their opening matches at the final venue.”
The four Home Nations events will take place between October and March and the plan is to host each of them in their own countries.
A different twist to previous seasons sees the Northern Ireland Open be the first Home Nations to take place in early October – rather than the English Open which has traditionally been the first Home Nations event in recent history.
The English Open takes place a month later in November.
The Scottish Open will keep its normal slot in December just after the UK Championship and the Welsh Open kicks off at the end of February – as the snooker season begins to reach its climax events.
The calendar can be seen by clicking here.
It does include a number of “potential ranking events” which suggest the World Snooker Tour is planning to hold events in China again when time allows.
More announcements will be released in due course.