When does the new season begin?

The new season gets underway at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes behind closed doors at 11am on Sunday 13 September with the latest edition of the Championship League, the first ranking event of the new campaign.

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What is the format?

128 players will participate in the opening tournament of the 2020/21 season, according to tournament organisers World Snooker Tour.

Stage one will be played across two eight-day periods between September 13-20 and September 28–October 5.

The opening stage features 32 groups of four players, with two tables per day hosting one group each over a maximum of four frames. The player who tops each group will progress to Stage two. Group matches take place from 11am and 4pm (BST) each day.

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Stage two takes place between October 26-29 and sees the 32 group winners split into eight further groups of four, with two groups per day also played over two tables.

Stage three has been pencilled in for Friday October 30 and will see the eight stage two group winners battle it out over two final groups, with the two group winners contesting the best of five frame final.

The prize fund is £328,000 with the tournament winner in line to collect a cheque for £33,000 and a place in the Champion of Champions event in Milton Keynes in November.

Who is the defending champion?

Belgian's leading player Luca Brecel won the tournament in June after the sport returned from three months of enforced hibernation due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

When are Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump in action?

World number one Trump is in action on the opening day in Group 1 where he will face Alan McManus, David Lilley and Fan Zhengyi.

Trump faces Fan in the season opener on table one with two-times ranking event winner Ryan Day meeting Rod Lawler on table two.

World champion O'Sullivan – fresh from lifting his sixth world title with an 18-8 win over Kyren Wilson at the delayed World Championship last month – does not get going in the Championship League until Monday 5 October, but his first competitive ranking matches will come at the European Masters on Eurosport between September 21-27 at the same venue.

He has been drawn in Group 32 of the Championship League in a section that includes Hang Li, Alex Borg and Iulian Boiko.

Former world champions John Higgins, Mark Williams, Shaun Murphy, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Stuart Bingham, Graeme Dott, and Ken Doherty are also involved in the opening group stage.

World Seniors champion Jimmy White will face Murphy in Group 8 on Wednesday 16 September.

Where does the tournament fit into the new season?

Due to the health crisis, the first eight events of the season will be played behind closed doors in Milton Keynes. With no events in China this year, organisers have taken the decision to host the European Masters and English Open, both live on Eurosport, in between the three stages of the Championship League.

Neil Robertson will defend his European Masters title with the top 49 players in the world confirmed for the second ranking event of the season chasing an £80,000 first prize.

The first tournament outside of Milton Keynes is scheduled to be the UK Championship in York in late November.

Latest calendar

SEPTEMBER

  • 13-20 – Championship League – Milton Keynes
  • 21-27 – European Masters – Milton Keynes
  • 28-Oct 5 – Championship League – Milton Keynes

OCTOBER

  • 12-18 – English Open – Milton Keynes
  • 26-30 – Championship League – Milton Keynes

NOVEMBER

  • 2-8 – Champion of Champions – Milton Keynes
  • 10-14 – Qualifiers – BetVictor German Masters – Milton Keynes
  • 16-22 – Northern Ireland Open – Milton Keynes
  • 24-6 December – Betway UK Championship – York

DECEMBER

  • 7-13 – Scottish Open – Venue TBC
  • 14-20 – Coral World Grand Prix – Venue TBC

Championship League odds

  • 4/1 Ronnie O'Sullivan
  • 4/1 Judd Trump
  • 8/1 Neil Robertson
  • 10/1 Mark Selby
  • 14/1 Shaun Murphy

Championship League groups and dates

Sunday 13 September

  • Group 1
  • Judd Trump
  • Alan McManus
  • David Lilley
  • Fan Zhengyi
  • Group 2
  • Matthew Stevens
  • Ryan Day
  • Rod Lawler
  • Paul Davison

Monday 14 September

  • Group 3
  • Gary Wilson
  • Robert Milkins
  • Chen Zifan
  • Jamie Jones
  • Group 4
  • Barry Hawkins
  • Sam Craigie
  • Jackson Page
  • Ben Hancorn

Tuesday 15 September

  • Group 5
  • Stephen Maguire
  • Louis Heathcote
  • Dominic Dale
  • Leo Fernandez
  • Group 6
  • Zhou Yuelong
  • Ricky Walden
  • Gerard Greene
  • Jianbo Zhao

Wednesday 16 September

  • Group 7
  • Matt Selt
  • Ben Woollaston
  • Si Jiahui
  • Yang Gao
  • Group 8
  • Shaun Murphy
  • Martin O'Donnell
  • Jimmy White
  • Peter Devlin

Thursday 17 September

  • Group 21
  • David Gilbert
  • Lu Ning
  • Xu Si
  • Aaron Hill
  • Group 10
  • Zhao Xingtong
  • Liam Highfield
  • Nigel Bond
  • Oliver Brown

Friday 18 September

  • Group 18
  • Xiao Guodong
  • Hossein Vafaei
  • Jak Jones
  • Farakh Ajaib
  • Group 12
  • Stuart Bingham
  • Yuan Sijun
  • James Cahill
  • Junxu Pang

Saturday 19 September

  • Group 13
  • Jack Lisowski
  • Ian Burns
  • Fraser Patrick
  • Rory McLeod
  • Group 14
  • Graeme Dott
  • Liang Wenbo
  • Soheil Vahedi
  • Zak Surety

Sunday 20 September

  • Group 15
  • Michael Holt
  • Anthony Hamilton
  • Jamie O'Neill
  • Sean Maddocks
  • Group 16
  • Mark Selby
  • Lyu Haotian
  • Brandon Sargeant
  • Fergal O'Brien

Monday 28 September

  • Group 17
  • Neil Robertson
  • Andrew Higginson
  • Eden Sharav
  • Ken Doherty
  • Group 11
  • Anthony McGill
  • Alexander Ursenbacher
  • Riley Parsons
  • Lukas Klekers

Tuesday 29 September

  • Group 19
  • Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
  • Sunny Akani
  • Peter Lines
  • Lee Walker
  • Group 20
  • Yan Bingtao
  • Stuart Carrington
  • Jordan Brown
  • Michael White

Wednesday 30 September

  • Group 9
  • Mark Allen
  • Luo Honghao
  • Billy Castle
  • Jamie Wilson
  • Group 22
  • Scott Donaldson
  • Chris Wakelin
  • Barry Pinches
  • Ashley Carty

Thursday 1 October

  • Group 23
  • Jimmy Robertson
  • Mark King
  • David Grace
  • Allan Taylor
  • Group 24
  • Kyren Wilson
  • Daniel Wells
  • Duane Jones
  • Kuldesh Johal

Friday 2 October

  • Group 25
  • John Higgins
  • Joe O'Connor
  • Amine Amiri
  • Brian Ochoiski
  • Group 26
  • Kurt Maflin
  • Martin Gould
  • Igor Figueiredo
  • Simon Lichtenberg

Saturday 3 October

  • Group 27
  • Tom Ford
  • Luca Brecel
  • Mitchell Mann
  • Ashley Hugill
  • Group 28
  • Mark Williams
  • Mark Joyce
  • Lei Peifan
  • Jamie Clarke

Sunday 4 October

  • Group 29
  • Joe Perry
  • Elliot Slessor
  • Kacper Filipiak
  • Steven Hallworth
  • Group 30
  • Ali Carter
  • Mark Davis
  • Chang Bingyu
  • Jamie Curtis-Barrett

Monday 5 October

  • Group 31
  • Noppon Saengkham
  • Tian Pengfei
  • Robbie Williams
  • Oliver Lines
  • Group 32
  • Ronnie O'Sullivan
  • Hang Li
  • Alex Borg
  • Iulian Boiko
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