gninnur karona wrote:...
You write "Everything presented here could be adopted in time for the 2023-24 season". Undoubtedly true but should they be? And will they be?
Considering for example current happenings in golf coupled with snooker's increasing insularity it isn't fanciful to suggest that WST are probably most concerned with fending off potential challenges to their position running the professional game. In parallel the BBC and ITV give the impression that they would prefer snooker to contract the sport, further reducing events outside the United Kingdom and culling professionals outside the top 32. I find it sad that yesterday the BBC website entitled their main snooker story "Hendry fined for 'Masked Singer' absences" whilst imposing radio silence on the cancellation of the Turkish Masters.
That's the background against which you are trying to sell your ideas to WST and WPBSA.
Whilst I agree that expansion is the desired way forward, a reformed ranking system is not a panacea to remedy the professional snooker tour's structural weaknesses. A greater range of tournaments is certainly viable without revolutionary change as perfectly illustrated by the 2013-14 and 2014-15 calendars - the WST decision to end PTC tournaments, that in Europe were laying down roots for the sport, and that in China were serving as promotional aperitif before higher-profile events, was a self-inflicted error. Why not reverse it?
In essence, though, I am not convinced by a move to an Elo system. Looking at other sports I would favour a future ranking system similar to that used by tennis rather than chess. Indeed, replicating the structure of the tennis events calendar would be a huge step forward for snooker. It works for tennis why not for snooker?
For ball replacement you've demonstrated the viability and proved that costs would not be insurmountable so it comes down to the recurring questions about technology in sport. Where do you set the limit for ball replacement? Whether football, cricket or tennis, technology is only used at top-level. Where do you wish the line to be drawn in snooker? Will this be just for the TV table(s)? Every table in every ranking event? Or somewhere inbetween? Yes, though, if there's a will this could be in place for 2023-24.
Lastly the QSchool Swiss elimination system. I agree using a Swiss system is superior, in theory increasing the probability of the best players succeeding. However I don't believe that all Swiss system set ups in practice work out that way. My suspicion is that placing 166 players (I think that was ultimately the number that played QSchool UK summer 2022) into a single unique pool isn't the optimum solution. How about splitting the participants into smaller pre-determined sections (eg 4x32 and 1x38 with ex-pros spread equitably between the sections) for the first five rounds, then, half the players eliminated, holding a knock-out round for the survivors with the worst records (all of whom will be among those who have already lost twice) to reduce into a final Swiss pool of 64 (carrying-over all results except that of the unique knock-out round)? And yes it could and should be implemented for the next QSchool event. How, though, to convince WST/WPBSA?
Many thanks for your views. Firstly, I don't expect any of this to be implemented before next season! My intention was the get the discussion started
, and demonstrate that it's not
too difficult to implement new ideas. In fact, I would say that many of these things would work more smoothly than the currect situation. But I really believe not enough snooker fans are talking about the future - almost all are talking about the past, and this is very dangerous at times like these when snooker is at a crossroads.
The global ranking system is partly to allow professional events of different sizes (128-player, 32-player, 8-player, etc.) but also to provide a global community of players, with incentives for people to actually get out and play. Any system based on 'ranking points' can't scale up to that - it's hopeless. You can only have a closed shop of 128 players (or less), all having to spend 10 months of the year in the UK. We need to be global
(geographically) and inclusive
in today's world. The PCT system is not flexible enough to be viable financially. We could probably have a 16-player Turkish Masters, but evidently not a 128-player event. Sponsors and broadcasters aren't keen on backing 'non-ranking' tournaments.
With a reformed ranking system, that would in principle give WST more
power. They would make the decision whether local amateur tournaments received 'ranking status', for example if a club refused women participants. If Ronnie O'Sullivan wanted to organise a 'tournament' comprising challenge matches with some big-name opponents, WST could embrace it rather than having to ban them all. There is a problem that WST only seem to be concerned with the closed professional game. All of the players that they depend on originally come from the amateur ranks...
For ball-replacement, it should be implemented for any professional match. Any match with a referee can have some technological assistance for that referee. It can be built into the device that the referees already use for scoring.
As for Q School, your idea might work - perhaps I will implement it as a demo simulation. But on the face of it, it sounds even more complicated than mine! My experience with knockout rounds is that they are far too stressful. Even a seeded draw might pit two top players against each other. The snooker is terrible, and it leads to the kind of game that won't be suitable when they actually qualify and play on tour. It's the wrong kind of test. Swiss tournaments have been incredibly successful in many other sports and games. Unfortunately they haven't been used in snooker, hence the doubts. Have faith!