WBT International Open postponed after sponsors withdraw

The World Bowls Tour 2019 International Open, which was due to be held at Blackpool in March, has been postponed after sponsors withdrew their funding support.

WBT Chief Executive Richard Maddieson said today: “With circumstances occurring within the last few weeks that are totally outside the control of WBT that WBT has had no option but to postpone the International Open 2019 which was to be played in March at Blackpool Newton Hall Holiday Park.

“Due to the fact that in the last four weeks one of the sponsors for the event has called in the liquidators and a mere 14 days ago the remaining major sponsor has withdrawn due to uncertainties over cash availability in time for the event.

“They have cited the current state of Brexit causing them grave ‘headaches’ and cannot guarantee that they would be in a position to honour any commitment they have given and have therefore withdrawn from being title sponsor.”

With only approximately nine weeks left before the scheduled start of the event, the WBT felt that trying to find £65,000 minimum from the marketplace in order to run a full and proper televised ranking event with prize monies in place was an ‘almost insurmountable task in such a short time frame’.

Maddieson added: “Even if WBT looked at a stream only event we would still need to find somewhere in the region of £40,000.

“WBT is left with no option but to postpone this event til later in the year and is looking at September/early October as a replacement time frame.

“This hopefully gives WBT the time needed to replace sponsors and to be able to run the event with guaranteed finances in place.

“All players and current qualifiers for the event will be kept up to date with progress and those that have already qualified for the event through the various PBA qualifiers will have their places kept for them.

“Once again, WBT regrets having to take this course of action but circumstances have forced us to make some hard decisions which we hope you fully understand.”

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