World Snooker today officially announced its plans to overhaul the current world ranking points system, in favour of a more straight-forward detail based on money earned.
Their official website posted this earlier along with a link to how things would stand at the moment if the new structure was implemented today.
The rolling list is based on the same events as the world rankings, so it shows how much prize money each player has earned in all ranking and PTC events over the past two years.
This rolling prize money list will be updated after each event until the 2014 World Championship. It will then replace the world rankings from the 2014/15 season.
While now official, this is by no means a new revelation – indeed, I wrote about the likely introduction back in October, 2011.
As I stated then, this would certainly make it a lot easier for general fans to understand the ranking system and that in itself could provide the sport with more followers.
However, there is a necessity to be cautious now that the plan has been given the green light because, currently, not every professional can make a living from the tournaments on offer.
There will have to be a fundamental overhaul in the way prize-money is allocated because it would be impossible for those at the bottom of the rankings to make a leap forward otherwise.
Steps have been taken to ensure that the tournament structure does begin to change in the future with higher ranked players being forced to enter the German Masters and Welsh Open at a much earlier stage.
For a prize-money ranking system to work, this really needs to start happening throughout all the major events because otherwise the old qualm over the governing body’s desire to protect the top players would regain momentum.
If you have a look at the projected money-based rankings in the link above, you will note that both John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan, as the previous two world champions, make stark rises up the table – but all in all it has to be said that there really isn’t too much of a difference between the two methods.
Rather unsurprisingly, there has been a lot of chatter among the snooker community over the last few hours on the matter and it is safe to say that the consensus is divided.
That includes fans, writers like myself and, most importantly, the players with the likes Shaun Murphy and Matthew Selt in favour of the alteration while Michael Holt and David Grace publicly oppose the transition.
Both sides have valid arguments for and against, but the most prominent is the situation of a lower-ranked player’s stage of entry into a tournament.
As it stands there are still far too many events, including all the majors, where the lowest ranked players can win a match and earn zero credit. That, under the new system, would be completely unacceptable.
But rather than voice my opinion right at this moment, for to be honest I’m pretty much firmly planted on the wooden fence either way anyway, I will instead pose the question as to why World Snooker has not cleared this up already?
Why issue a statement introducing a new system and not consider the immediate aftermath of the circuit’s concerns regarding the structures of events themselves?
Personally, I’d be shocked if by 2014 all the tournaments aren’t geared in some way towards the top 32 in the world having to enter every event at an earlier stage – As it stands, the top 16 enter at round five in most ranking events - therefore likely ensuring that prize money will be awarded in each round.
But while there is confusion over this there is going to be continuous arguments and energy-sapping second guessing.
Nothing ever seems to be easy with World Snooker but surely a bit of foresight here would have provided some common sense.