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Saudi Arabia to host new snooker event with added 20-point golden ball

The invitational event will take place between March 4-6 in Riyadh at the Boulevard Arena; a new 23rd ball known as "Riyadh Season ball" will be introduced and will be worth 20 points

Ronnie O'Sullivan during UK Championship victory over Robert Milkins
Image: Masters champion Ronnie O'Sullivan will feature in Saudi Arabia

Seven-time World Snooker Championship winner Ronnie O'Sullivan, former 2019 world champion Judd Trump and current Luca Brecel, are set to contest at the inaugural Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker.

Although matches will be played under World Snooker rules, a 23rd golden ball, known as the 'Riyadh Season ball', will be introduced.

The ball will be worth 20 points and can only be potted once all other balls have been successfully cleared from the table if a player is on a maximum break to make it 167.

The invitational event will take place between March 4-6 at Boulevard Arena in Riyadh and will involve 10 participants with the announcement of the personnel and schedule for the tournament expected in the coming weeks.

Sports promoters Eddie and Barry Hearn were present in the agreement of this tournament that was signed between Faisal Bafarat, chief of General Entertainment Authority, and World Snooker Tour chairman Steve Dawson in the presence of HE Advisor Turki Alalshikh.

"This is a huge breakthrough for snooker into a new territory, and we see this as the beginning of a new adventure for our sport in the region," said Dawson.

"We are looking forward to being a part of Riyadh Season on this fantastic new event featuring the world's best players."

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Eddie Hearn confirmed the event will feature the top eight players in the world including two wildcards and a prize pool of $1m (£788,000).

The leading players are currently competing at the World Grand Prix in Leicester. O'Sullivan, who won the Masters at the Alexandra Palace on Sunday, booked his place in the quarter finals after edging past Zhou Yuelong 4-3.

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