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WPBSA to offer financial support to professional snooker players

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Snooker’s governing body, the WPBSA, has stepped in to offer a financial lifeline to players at the lower end of the world rankings.

The 2019/20 snooker season has been brought to an abrupt end due to the Coronavirus outbreak, with the final three tournaments of the campaign all having been postponed.

The Coral Tour Championship, China Open and World Championship have been called off following government advice in China and the UK, with new dates set to be rescheduled for the summer months.

The postponements have led to a significant loss of income for a number of players, particularly those at the lower end of the spectrum who rely solely on tournament prize money.

The WPBSA announced on Friday that it will step in to provide player support for its members.

In the support package, the WPBSA will grant each player an initial £1,000, with additional financial support also available in the form of a loan against future tournament earnings.

Other assistance in relation to travel will also be provided.

WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said: “All of us at the WPBSA care about our players.

“We will do everything in our power to help everybody through at this difficult time.

“If any player has any questions or we can provide any assistance I would encourage them to contact a member of our team at any time.”

The one-year ranking list shows that 62 main tour professionals have earned less than £30,000 in prize money over the past 12 months.

The China Open and World Championship, which are traditionally the final two events of the season, are among the most lucrative in the sport, offering prize funds of £1 million and £2.4 million respectively.

The majority of main tour players are full-time professionals with no other source of income and rely on sponsorship to fund their expenses during the season.

WST Chairman Barry Hearn has vowed that consultation is ongoing between the WST and broadcasters to reschedule events and has also revealed he is exploring other avenues to stage potential behind closed doors events.