Thursday, 20 October 2011

Ranking system changes announced

Let's be honest, we all knew more changes were coming.

Barry Hearn can't help himself as he continues to transform snooker at the speed of a runaway train.

Today's announcement from World Snooker told us the professional tour will increase to 128 players. This is a positive step because it shows Hearn appreciates the increasing number of young talented players in the game.

Another change announced means new players onto tour will receive their card for two years, instead of just one.

This means players will have longer to settle and begin their life as a professional without being immediately under the cosh to retain their status. It takes the pressure off and helps them to concentrate on how they're playing, instead of where they are in the rankings.

It also makes perfect sense to give players two years because this reflects the period the rankings are based across.

My only concern is that with players at the lower end of the rankings list already struggling financially, how does World Snooker intend to support even more players? My guess is that there are a few bigger ranking events already on the horizon, which make this feasible. But I guess time will tell.

These changes should also eliminate the chance of any talented players being beaten by the system. A couple of tough draws in qualifying will not completely scupper their chances of staying on, and they'll have longer to prove they're good enough.

Another potential change announced - although not yet confirmed - is that the rankings will be ordered by prize money, rather than ranking points.

It's difficult to make a judgment on this without further details but the positives are numerous.

This will make the rankings easier to understand for the fans and should mean a fairer reflection of a player's success in the sport.

If this does happen, snooker would not be the first sport to go this way. While many people have already spoken out against the prospect, I definitely think it's worth a shot. It will mean tournaments reward players for what they're really worth and it could even help drum up extra sponsorship for tournaments, thus bolstering the coffers for a bigger professional circuit.

People notoriously dislike change, but there's one thing that cannot be altered. The cream always rises to the top. If players win matches, they move up the rankings in whatever format it takes. That's why the top 16 are who they are. They all started at the bottom and have proven themselves to be the best players.

1 comment:

  1. Mostly I agree, however cream does not rise to top in Snooker when you have low frame formats in matches.