Snooker's UK Championship gets huge revamp and Stephen Hendry and Ken Doherty stay on tour

April 26, 2022
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Phil Haigh ✍️  

Zhao Xintong
Zhao Xintong is the reigning UK champion (Picture: WST)

The UK Championship is getting a major overhaul, with the format changing to mirror that of the World Snooker Championship.

The top 16 players in the world will be seeded through to the last 32, with 16 qualifiers coming through to meet them at the Barbican in York.

128 players will be involved in qualifying, which will take place before the final stages in York from 12-20 November. The qualifiers will be held immediately beforehand, but that venue is yet to be confirmed.

The prize money for the tournament has been boosted from £1,009,000 to £1,205,0000, with the first prize up from £200,000 to £250,000.

The format remains at best of 11 until the final when it extends to a best of 19.

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.’

Dawson also announced on Tuesday that there will be two-year tour cards again for Stephen Hendry and Ken Doherty.

Both former world champions fell off tour at the end of their previous two-year cards, but have been given the opportunity of another two seasons as professionals.

A WST statement read: ‘They are both great ambassadors for our sport and they have both done a huge amount to grow snooker around the world over many years.

‘Both Ken and Stephen continue to generate interest from fans, television and media. We wish them all the best for the next two seasons. We will review this invitation at the end of the two-year period.’

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