Snooker’s Cazoo UK Championship, to be staged in November 2022, will have a new format which guarantees that the world’s top 16 players will compete in the televised stages.
From next season, the tournament’s structure will mirror that of the World Championship, with the top 16 seeded into the last 32, to be joined by 16 players who come through the qualifying rounds.
Prize money for the Cazoo UK Championship, one of the sport’s Triple Crown events, has been increased from £1,009,000 to £1,205,0000, with the first prize up from £200,000 to £250,000.
The final stages of the tournament will run from November 12 to 20 at the York Barbican, its home since 2011. This will be immediately preceded by a qualifying event featuring 128 players, made up by 112 professionals and 16 invited amateurs.
The UK Championship was first staged in 1977 and is one of snooker’s longest running events. It is broadcast to a global audience of hundreds of millions by BBC, Eurosport, CCTV5 and a range of other outlets worldwide.
China’s Zhao Xintong is the current champion having beaten Belgium’s Luca Brecel in the 2021 final.
In recent years, the event has started with all 128 players in a flat draw, but the decision to seed the top 16 to the last 32 round ensures that the sport’s biggest stars will feature in the televised phase. Matches will remain best of 11 frames up until the final.
WST Chairman Steve Dawson said: “This format works perfectly for the World Championship so it is also ideal for our second biggest ranking event, the UK Championship.
“This guarantees a star-studded line-up for the final stages, while the qualifying event itself also creates drama and great storylines as 128 players battle for 16 coveted spots at the fabulous York Barbican venue.
“We are also delighted to increase prize money for the event, to the benefit of every player on the tour.
“These changes will enhance the status of the Cazoo UK Championship as one of the outstanding events on our calendar.”
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