World Snooker has announced it has been forced into postponing its Indian Open world ranking event which was scheduled to take place between 24 and 28 March.
The world governing body, which postponed the event due to the fact that no host city was found, is yet to make an announcement regarding specific dates regarding the Open, however, it did state that the tournament is expected to return during the 2020/21 season.
A statement released by World Snooker stated: “We have worked closely with our partners in India to try to find a suitable host city for the event, but without success.
“World Snooker continues to believe that there is great potential for snooker to grow in India, and it is our intention that this tournament will return to the calendar during the 2020/21 season.”
The postponing of the event comes despite a development deal between snooker’s governing body and the India Business Group (IBG) which was set to promote the sport within the country, with a specific focus on the Indian Open.
At the time IBG chair, Lord Patel of Bradford, added: “If there’s one country which can take a sport and create a global brand, it’s India. Just look at what the IPL (Indian Premier League) has contributed to cricket.
“At the moment, an estimated 2.5 million Indians play snooker in India. With its strong historical links to India, where the sport was invented in 1875 in Jabalpur, and with 600 million people estimated to be under 25, it has to be the perfect place for market growth.”
The Indian Open first teed off in New Delhi in 2013, with the most recent iteration of the competition having been held in the city of Kochi where England’s Matthew Selt claimed his first world-ranking snooker title in his 13 year professional career.
As well as its partnership with IBG, the announcement of the postponing also follows on from the 10-year deal between World Snooker and Saudi Arabia which seeks to boost the global expansion of Snooker and grow the sport’s presence within the Middle-Eastern country.
At the time, World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn commented: “This is a giant leap forward for our sport. We have enjoyed tremendous global expansion over the past decade, particularly in Asia and Europe and we are thrilled to stage a new and momentous tournament in the Middle East.
“We have a packed calendar throughout the year which creates a competitive marketplace for new events. Snooker has grown to such an extent that we are now creating exceptional tournaments at this level.
“For the fans in Saudi Arabia it is a wonderful opportunity to see the best players in the world competing for a huge title. We look forward to working with our partners on delivering a huge event.”