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Snooker’s Championship League Returns On June 1st On ITV

Snooker’s Championship League will return with an exciting new format from June 1st to 11th live on ITV, bringing world-class sport back to living rooms nationwide.
Featuring 64-players in round-robin groups, the new-look Championship League will take place behind closed doors at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes with strict rules on social distancing, COVID testing and hygiene in place, in line with government guidelines. Marshall Arena has been selected as the venue as it has an on-site accommodation meaning no players, officials or staff will need to leave the venue once they have entered.
All 128 World Snooker Tour card holders will be invited to participate, with the top 64 who enter receiving a place in the tournament. Top players including Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen and Kyren Wilson have already confirmed they will enter the event.
Championship League will be split into three phases, with all matches during all stages played as the best-of-four frames. Play will begin at 3pm each day, running continuously until both groups are complete, with the exception of Friday, June 5th when play will begin at 4pm.
• GROUP MATCHES from June 1st to 8th will feature 16 groups of four players, with two groups played each day across two tables. The player who tops each group table will progress to Phase Two. Players will be awarded three points for a win and one point for a drawn match.
• GROUP WINNERS from June 9th to 10th sees the 16 group winners split into four further groups of four, with two groups per day also played over two tables.
• TOURNAMENT FINALS from June 11th will see the four Phase Two winners battle it out over one final group, played on one table, to determine the Championship League winner.
The total prize fund will stand at over £200,000. Players will earn a guaranteed £1,000 with the winner taking home £30,000 and a place in November’s Champion of Champions. Championship League will not be a ranking event and will be promoted by Matchroom Multi Sport.
All players, staff and contractors will be virus-tested prior to entering the venue and will be in isolation until their results are known. Players will require a negative test result in order to enter the venue. They will play all group matches on one day, remaining on site throughout, and will then leave the venue.
Other safety measures in place will include:
• Social distancing measures in place throughout the venue.
• Players seated at least two metres apart during matches.
• Players using anti-bacterial hand sanitiser before matches and avoiding handshakes.
• Referees endeavouring to keep two metres away from players where possible.
• There will be no access for players’ guests.
• First aid personnel on site at all times
Matchroom Sport Chairman Barry Hearn said: “During the challenging times of the past few weeks we have examined the opportunities which still exist and worked relentlessly towards the goal of getting our tour going again. While most other sports remain sidelined, we are ready to return from June 1st. This sends out a message to the sporting world that snooker is at the forefront of innovation.
“Our first priority has to be safety and we have had detailed discussions with government in creating a set of approved guidelines for the event which will be rigorously followed. We are making this very clear to the players and everyone working on the event.
“We will be the first major sport to get back to live televised action. That’s not by chance, it’s because of the hard work and preparation we have done during the lockdown to make sure we are ready to get going again as soon as it is legal.
“Liaising with government advisors, we have prepared highly detailed health and safety documents which will be followed to the letter during the tournament. These measures surpass any others made in any other professional sport right now.
“In particular, procedures are being put in place for testing players, staff and contractors, which ensure that we are doing everything possible to keep the event safe. Players who have any doubts about their own welfare can rest assured that all precautions are being taken.
“I am confident that there is no other major sport which can meet health and safety criteria on isolation and social distancing as stringently as snooker can, so we are able to return more quickly than others.
“One of the reasons we have selected the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes is that the accommodation is on site, which means that once players arrive for testing the night before they play, they don’t need to leave until their matches have finished, and they can remain isolated within the venue. It is a superb venue with ideal facilities.
“Following testing, the players will remain in an isolated environment until they are eliminated from the event. It is a group format so the group winners will leave the venue, then come back for their next group when the process begins again. Keeping players isolated at all possible times is an integral part of the procedures we are putting in place.
“These are challenging times but as always we are looking at the opportunities rather than the limitations.
“Championship League will provide 11 days of televised sport with extensive live coverage, from 3pm until 10pm each day. For the fans out there who are starved of live sport it will be a fantastic boost and a very welcome diversion from these tough times we are all going through.
“We are thrilled to be working with ITV on Championship League for the first time, with an exciting new format. The field of players and more details will be announced in the coming days.”
Controller of ITV Sport Production, Mark Demuth, said: “We know fans have been missing live action since the lockdown has been in place, so we’re delighted to bring snooker back, marking the return of live sport to free-to-air TV. Behind the scenes, our team has been working with the event organisers to ensure strict adherence to guidelines to safeguard the well-being of all involved, which is our priority.”
Further information on format and players entered will be announced in due course.

Kreativ Dental to Sponsor Ruhr Open

Ken Doherty

World Snooker is delighted to announce Kreativ Dental as the new title sponsor of the Ruhr Open European Tour event.

The tournament will take place in the city of Mulheim in the Ruhr region of Germany from November 19 to 23.

Many of snooker’s top stars will enter at the last 128 stage, with the last three days of the event to receive extensive live coverage from Eurosport. Mark Allen won the title last year by beating Ding Junhui in the final.

Based in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, Kreativ Dental is one of Europe’s leading dental centres and attracts customers from across the continent.

Former World Champion Ken Doherty said: “It’s great to have a new sponsor on board and Kreativ have recognised the potential of snooker to generate exposure to a vast audience through the coverage on Eurosport.

“I have got to know the manager of Kreativ, Attila Knott, he absolutely loves snooker and he knows our sport is a fantastic vehicle for promotion. I’ve also been to his clinic in Budapest and it’s an amazing place. The quality of treatment is five-star and I’d recommend it to anyone.”


The European Tour series comprises six events across the continent, with the top 24 on the final Order of Merit to progress to the Grand Finals to chase the £100,000 top prize.


For more information on Kreativ Dental see

Allen First In Furth

Mark Allen won his third European Tour title within the past year by beating Judd Trump 4-2 in the final of the Arcaden Paul Hunter Classic in Fürth, Germany.



World number nine Allen won two European Tour titles last season and has now won the second of the current campaign, and tops the Order of Merit having been runner-up to Mark Selby at the Riga Open.



Watched by a packed crowd at the Fürth Stadthalle, Northern Ireland’s Allen collected the trophy and a cheque for 25,000 Euros after getting the better of world number six Trump.



A dramatic opening frame came down to a respotted black after Trump had missed frame-ball green, and he was made to pay as Allen took it. Trump hit back with a break of 92 before a scrappy third frame went Allen’s way for 2-1.



In the fourth, Allen had a chance to clear but missed a tough last red to a baulk corner, and Trump took advantage to level the match. Allen regained the lead after a poor safety from his opponent on the last red in the fifth. And the 28-year-old from Antrim sealed victory in the next with a fine break of 88.



“I’m glad I won this one, having been 3-0 up on Selby in the final in Riga and lost 4-3,” said the player nicknamed the Pistol. “It shows that I’m going in the right direction, having got to the last two finals.



“I’ve actually played poorly this weekend so I’m glad the final was a bit scrappy – if it had been open then Judd would have scored heavily. 



“I still feel I need to get more consistent. I don’t know why I do better in the European Tour events than the main ranking events because I don’t prepare any differently.



“The crowds here are amazing, everything about the tournament reflects well on the name of Paul Hunter and the players feel proud to be a part of it.”



Earlier in the semi-finals, Trump beat Ricky Walden 4-1 while Allen edged out veteran Rod Lawler 4-3.



The 2014/15 European Tour series comprises six events across the continent, with the top 24 in the final Order or Merit to go through to the Players Championship next March to battle for the £100,000 jackpot.



The next event is the Bulgarian Open in Sofia from October 2-5.



Results (Last 16 onwards)



Last 16

Mark Selby 4-1 Liang Wenbo

Ricky Walden 4-2 Fergal O’Brien

Judd Trump 4-2 Stephen Maguire

Tian Pengfei 4-2 Ronnie O’Sullivan

Dechawat Poomjaeng 4-2 Neil Robertson

Rod Lawler 4-0 Fraser Patrick

Alan McManus 4-2 Xiao Guodong




Walden 4-3 Selby

Trump 4-3 Tian

Lawler 4-2 Poomjaeng

Allen 4-3 McManus




Trump 4-1 Walden

Allen 4-3 Lawler



Allen 4-2 Trump

Tickets are now on sale for:

Champion of Champions
3-9 November, Ricoh Arena, Coventry

UK Championship
25 November – 7 December, York Barbican, York

The Masters
11-18 January, Alexandra Palace, London

World Snooker Championship
18 April – 4 May, The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

Book Now:

Spaceman Into Orbit With Shoot-Out Triumph

Dominic Dale

Dominic Dale won the 888casino Shoot-Out in Blackpool, snooker's quick-fire one-frame knockout event, beating Stuart Bingham in the final.


Colourful character Dale, nicknamed the Spaceman, won six matches to take the £32,000 top prize, the third biggest pay-day of his 22-year career.


Cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd, 42-year-old Dale rose to the challenge of the exhilarating tournament, deadly potting and quick thinking his key attributes. The Welshman, sporting a peroxide blonde hair-cut, knocked out Fergal O'Brien, Barry Hawkins, Mark Allen, Andrew Higginson and Ryan Day to reach the final before getting the better of Basilson's Bingham.


A superb break of 61 put Dale in control, though he missed a red to a centre pocket to gift Bingham a chance. But having made just 15, the Essex cueman missed an easy pink, allowing Dale to wrap up victory by a 77-19 scoreline.


"In the last few years at this event I have been a nervous wreck, I found it hard to strike the cue ball," admitted Dale, who has won two world ranking events, the 1997 Grand Prix and 2007 Shanghai Masters. "But this time I felt very calm and I potted a lot of good pressure balls.


"The crowd adored me because I'm an extrovert and I relish this type of occasion. It's wonderful to be popular and I wanted to win it for them. It's a fantastic venue and a one-off tournament so to win a prestigious trophy at the age of 42 is very special.


"I have practised harder in the last three or four years than I had done in my whole career. We have so many tournaments now and that gives me motivation to do well. I've won a big cheque today and that will keep me going for a while."


Dale, who sang a few lines of 'My Way' after collecting the trophy in the arena, plans to keep his hair blonde for the time being. "It must be lucky so I won’t change it until I have a bad run!" he joked.


The tournament, first staged in 2011, featured frames lasting a maximum of ten minutes, with a 15 second shot clock for the first five minutes and 10 seconds for the last five.


BetVictor Renew Sponsorship Of Snooker’s Welsh Open

World Snooker is delighted to announce that BetVictor has renewed its title sponsorship of the Welsh Open world ranking event.



The BetVictor Welsh Open will run from February 19 to March 2 at the Newport Centre. The likes of World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, world number one Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, Judd Trump, John Higgins, Ding Junhui, defending champion Stephen Maguire and home favourites Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens will all be eligible to enter.



For the first time, the BBC Wales-televised event will see all 128 players competing at the venue and starting in the same round, giving the chance to up-and-coming rookies to face established stars in the opening round.



The tournament is four days longer than usual and fans will have the chance to see many more players in action, with a multi-table layout at the Newport Centre in the early stages.



Total prize money has increased from £250,000 to £300,000, with the winner to receive £60,000 instead of £50,000. Last year's final was a gripping battle as Maguire edged out Stuart Bingham 9-8 in a dramatic deciding frame.



World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “BetVictor sponsored the Welsh Open for the first time in 2013 and we are thrilled to welcome them back. They are clearly very pleased with the worldwide exposure that snooker can provide.



“We have a brand new format for the event this season, which puts all the players on a level playing field. The same format was used at the recent UK Championship and it produced some fascinating stories. I can’t wait to see how it pans out in Newport and we look forward to working with the BetVictor team.”



Magnus Grinneback, Managing Director of BetVictor Asia, said: "The Welsh Open is one of the sport's iconic tournaments and we are delighted to again lend our name and support to an event that has been extended in 2014 to give snooker fans the opportunity to see legends of the sport rub shoulders with some of the new kids on the block in a brand new format. This year the BetVictor Welsh Open will be played over an additional four days with no fewer than 128 players chasing the £300,000 purse and these are exciting times for a sport popular in both the UK and Asia; we see it as an excellent opportunity to extend the reach of the BetVictor brand to our core markets.” 



Tickets for the tournament are ON SALE NOW and fans are strongly advised to book early as many sessions are expected to sell out quickly. For full details call 01633 656 757 or



The draw and format will be available after the seeding cut-off point which follows the German Masters (January 29 – February 2).



The BetVictor Welsh Open is supported by Newport City Council.



Odds from BetVictor:



Ronnie O’Sullivan 9/2

Neil Robertson 7/1

Ding Junhui 9/1

Mark Selby 9/1

Judd Trump 10/1

John Higgins 16/1

Mark Allen 16/1

Stephen Maguire 20/1

25/1 Bar

Others On Request



Will there be a Maximum 147 break?

Yes 6/4

No 1/2



Dafabet Sponsor The Masters

Snooker’s most prestigious invitation tournament, The Masters, will be sponsored by Dafabet for the first time this season.



The Dafabet Masters runs from January 12 to 19 at Alexandra Palace in London and features the world’s leading 16 players, including defending champion Mark Selby, World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, world number one Neil Robertson, Chinese ace Ding Junhui, Judd Trump, John Higgins and many more.



The players will be chasing a top prize of £200,000 in the BBC-televised tournament, which will also be broadcast live in 68 countries with highlights coverage in seven others, reaching millions of viewers around the world.



World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are delighted to bring Dafabet on board as title sponsor for what is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar. The Masters has such a special feel to it because it’s an elite field and the tournament has a rich history going back to 1975.



“Dafabet sponsored the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals last season so they are aware of the massive global audience they can reach out to through snooker. The Masters will provide tremendous worldwide exposure for their brand.



“I’m looking forward to experiencing the incredible atmosphere at Alexandra Palace and working alongside the Dafabet team at this outstanding event.”



Dafabet Managing Director of online betting and gaming, Dimitris Karatzas, said: “We’re very proud to be title sponsor of such a recognised and traditional event of the sporting year. We are all looking forward to what is bound to be a tournament of the highest quality that will be viewed worldwide, such is the following of Snooker."



John Cruces, Head of sports marketing and sponsorships at Dafabet, added: “2014 is going to be a huge year for sport, sponsoring the Masters is a great way for us to kick the year off. It’s a genuine pleasure to be working with the World Snooker team again."



Tickets for the Dafabet Masters are still on sale, though many sessions are selling out fast. They start at just £10, amazing value for money, and there are also some superb VIP and corporate hospitality packages available. To book call 0871 620 7052 (calls cost 10p per minute, plus network extras) or visit



Here's the match schedule for the first round:



Sunday January 12

1pm Mark Selby v Mark Davis

7pm Stuart Bingham v John Higgins



Monday January 13

1pm Judd Trump v Marco Fu

7pm Stephen Maguire v Joe Perry



Tuesday January 14

1pm Ding Junhui v Shaun Murphy

7pm Ronnie O'Sullivan v Robert Milkins



Wednesday January 15

1pm Neil Robertson v Mark Allen

7pm Barry Hawkins v Ricky Walden


Selby Targeting Fourth Masters Crown

The world's best snooker players will be at Alexandra Palace in North London in January, and several sessions are selling out fast.



Tickets are the perfect Christmas present for anyone who loves live sport so book them NOW while they are still available. Snooker's most prestigious invitation tournament runs from January 12 to 19 and features the elite 16 players including World Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan, world number one Neil Robertson, defending champion Mark Selby plus Judd Trump, John Higgins, Mark Allen, Shaun Murphy, Ding Junhui and many more.



Tickets start at just £10, fantastic value for money, and there are also some amazing VIP and corporate hospitality packages available. To book call

0871 620 7052 (calls cost 10p per minute, plus network extras) or visit



Selby won the title for the third time last year by beating Robertson 10-6 in the final, and the Leicester man dreams of defending the crown and taking the £200,000 top prize. Steve Davis, Cliff Thorburn and Paul Hunter all won it three times while only Stephen Hendry (six) and Ronnie O'Sullivan (four) have surpassed that total.



"To defend the title and join Ronnie on four titles would be unbelievable," said Selby, who plays in the opening match of the tournament on Sunday January 12. "The Masters makes you feel special because it's only the best 16 players so you know that every match is going to be against another top player, and you will have to be at your best to win. And if you do win the title you know you've really earned it because you've beaten the best.



"I was gutted to lose to Neil Robertson in the UK Championship final last week but winning the Masters again would be the perfect way to bounce back from that. Ally Pally is brilliant for snooker, it really works as a venue and the atmosphere is fantastic."



Here's the match schedule for the first round:



Sunday January 12

1pm Mark Selby v Mark Davis

7pm Stuart Bingham v John Higgins



Monday January 13

1pm Judd Trump v Marco Fu

7pm Stephen Maguire v Joe Perry



Tuesday January 14

1pm Ding Junhui v Shaun Murphy

7pm Ronnie O'Sullivan v Robert Milkins



Wednesday January 15

1pm Neil Robertson v Mark Allen

7pm Barry Hawkins v Ricky Walden


O’Sullivan To Meet Milkins At The Masters

World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will face debutant Robert Milkins in the first round of the Masters next month.



Snooker’s most prestigious invitation tournament runs from January 12 to 19 at Alexandra Palace in London, with a top prize of £200,000 and the famous trophy to be contested by the top 16 seeds.



The draw for the opening round was made today live on the BBC and it pitched Londoner O’Sullivan against Gloucester’s Milkins, who will play in the tournament for the first time having climbed into the top 16.


Defending champion Mark Selby will meet Mark Davis while world number one Neil Robertson will face Mark Allen.



The full draw is:

Mark Selby v Mark Davis

Stuart Bingham v John Higgins

Judd Trump v Marco Fu

Ding Junhui v Shaun Murphy

Neil Robertson v Mark Allen

Stephen Maguire v Joe Perry

Barry Hawkins v Ricky Walden

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Robert Milkins



The schedule of play will be announced soon.



Tickets start at just £10, fantastic value for money. Fans are advised to BOOK FAST as many sessions are selling out. Call 0871 620 7052 (calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras) or go



There are also some stunning VIP and Corporate Hospitality packages available including lunch, sparkling wine, a photo with the Masters trophy, prime view seating and much more! For full details

Higgins- Top Trio Have Pulled Ahead

John Higgins believes that Ronnie O’Sullivan, Ding Junhui and Neil Robertson will be the men to beat at UK Championship, which starts next week.



The £700,000 tournament at the York Barbican runs from November 26 to December 8 and will feature 128 players all starting in the same round for the first time.



Higgins, a three-time UK and four-time World Champion himself, feels that that a trio of top stars are currently ahead of the chasing pack.



“Ronnie O’Sullivan is hard to gage because he doesn’t play that many tournaments, but in the big events like this he is always one of the favourites,” said Higgins. “Neil Robertson is world number one by a distance and the rankings don’t lie. And Ding Junhui is just in fantastic form at the moment. He has matured a lot as a person and a player in recent months. He is the complete package on the table and he has unbelievable talent.”



Wizard of Wishaw Higgins made a strong start to the current season – in June he won a European Tour event in Bulgaria and reached the final of the Wuxi Classic, where he lost to Neil Robertson. But since then he hasn’t been past the last 16 of any tournament.



“I have been faffing about with technique this season and trying different cues,” he said. “Now I’m trying to get back to basics and it feels better. Throughout my career, even when I was winning a lot of titles, I’ve always had the feeling that the grass would be greener if I could improve my technique or my cue.



“I know my faults and I usually know how to correct them. But there have been times during tournaments when I’ve changed something and it hasn’t worked and then I don’t know how to fix it, which is a horrible feeling.



“The UK Championship is a huge tournament and I would love to do well in York this year. It’s good to have a new format with everyone starting in the same round. You face new opponents and it gives a chance for more players to compete at the venue and get experience playing on TV.”



TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE and start at just £8 (concessions £4), phenomenal value for a top class sporting event. Call 0844 854 2757 or book online at or UK Championship winner:

9/2 Ronnie O’Sullivan

7/1 Ding Junhui

7/1 Neil Robertson

8/1 Judd Trump

8/1 Mark Selby

12/1 John Higgins

14/1 Mark Allen

20/1 Shaun Murphy

22/1 Marco Fu

22/1 Stephen Maguire

28/1 Barry Hawkins

33/1 Allister Carter

33/1 Graeme Dott

33/1 Mark Williams

33/1 Stuart Bingham

50/1 BAR

Predator Supports Team USA at WPA World Junior Championships

November 18, 2013 (Englewood, CO):  The Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) is grateful to announce a generous contribution from Predator Group. The industry leader has been a longtime supporter of the youth and continues this tradition by underwriting the event uniforms for this year’s BEF Team who will be representing North America at the upcoming WPA World Junior 9-Ball Championships in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Each of the seven team members and the team coach will receive two custom Sportek polo shirts in patriotic colors, printed with event logos. By underwriting this expense, Predator Group enables the organization to direct more funds to its youth billiard programs and academic scholarships.

“As a world leader in the billiard industry, Predator Group is honored to support the Billiard Education Foundation by outfitting the U.S. Junior National Team with shirts for the World Junior 9-Ball Championships,” said Jani Haney, Sponsorship Manager for Predator Group, “The BEF works diligently to promote billiards, sportsmanship and academic scholarship, objectives and values Predator Group shares. We wish the BEF team members and coaches all the best as they travel to compete in South Africa.”

For more information on the BEF, and sponsoring or underwriting any of its programs and events, visit the BEF website at or call (303) 926-1036.

Predator Group, an international billiards industry leader, is focused on bringing constant innovation and game-improving equipment to billiards players worldwide. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, USA, Predator Group’s core brands include: Predator Cues – professional level cues and shafts featuring classical designs and revolutionary, performance enhancing technology; Poison Billiards – recreational cues with cutting-edge designs and Predator engineering for best-in-class playability; and Uni-Loc® – precision-engineered components for billiards products. For more information regarding Predator Group’s products, visit

The Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) was formed in 1993 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity committed to promoting a lifelong love of pool and building the next generation of players through youth programs and academic scholarships. The BEF also produces the annual Junior National 9-Ball Championships and qualifies young players each year for the WPA World Junior Championships.