World Snooker Tour has announced a new addition to its calendar with the introduction of a mixed doubles event.
The inaugural BetVictor World Mixed Doubles tournament will take place in September.
Snooker hopes to “showcase its inclusivity” in Milton Keynes, where the world’s top four men will each be paired by the top four women in a new event to be televised live by ITV.
WST chairman Steve Dawson said: “This is the first time that a mixed doubles snooker event will be broadcast live on free-to-air television so it’s a very significant moment for our sport.
“We’re delighted to partner with ITV and BetVictor for this fantastic tournament.
“Snooker is a game for everyone, regardless of age, gender and nationality, and we have proved this with the expansion of our tour and of the sport at grassroots level.
“There is no reason why men and women can’t compete together and we are thrilled to have – for the first time – four women on our professional tour in the coming season.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Mark Selby and Neil Robertson will each be paired with Reanne Evans, Ng On Yee, Nutcharut Wongharuthai and Rebecca Kenna.
The team draw will take place in advance, with one man drawn to play alongside each woman and four pairs will compete in a round-robin format, followed by the final, over the weekend September 24-25.
Each round-robin match will be four frames, with all frames to be completed and teams will score one point for each frame, the WST said.
The two players in each team will make alternate visits to the table rather than alternate shots and the top two teams from the group phase will go through to the best-of-seven-frames final.
Dawson added: “The BetVictor World Mixed Doubles will be an opportunity for the eight players to compete in pairs, creating a different dynamic to the usual individual formats.
“It will be fascinating to watch both for the live audience and television viewers.”
It will be the first televised mixed doubles snooker event since 1991 when Steve Davis and Allison Fisher teamed up to win the title in Hamburg.