Snooker is possibly facing one of the biggest revolutions in the game’s history.
A new draw format has being proposed, it would be the flat 128 man draw.
This means all 128 players on the tour would enter events at round one, even the most elite players in the game.
Currently there is a feel that players in the top 16 have too much security as they are currently guaranteed a place at the major ranking events. However those players will surely argue that they have worked hard to earn that position.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn states he wants to give ‘equal opportunities’ to all players and claims that snooker is finally being looked at as a ‘proper game and not a boys club’.
One of the main issues raised has been that the top players don’t want to be playing in small venues and would rather play in front of big crowds at big events.
Judd trump says, “I don’t particularly want to be playing in front of five people again, the reason I practised so hard was to get out of that”.
John Virgo believes playing in smaller venues could be a disadvantage for the best players:
“The better players need to be out there in front of a big crowd, the TV cameras, with the adrenaline going. That is a test for any player to be able to do it on the big stage,” he said.
One of the ways of getting around this could be to have a similar set up to that of tennis. For example you could have smaller tables for the lesser known players and maybe some ‘show tables’ where there would be a crowd for the elite players to play in front of.
However for this you would need much bigger venues than the ones currently used, maybe even two in the same city.
One of the star players to come out in support of the format is Shaun Murphy. He believes this is what the game has needed for a long time.
The format change would coincide with the already planned and agreed change to the ranking format. The ranking system is currently based on points however from next season it is due to convert to a prize money based structure.
If the change does go ahead some people will believe that if the players aren’t beating the lower ranked players and getting to the latter stages of events then they are not good enough to be there.
The World championship and Masters would be the only tournaments excluded from the change.
The final decision is likely to be put to a vote, although it would be expected to be a vote in favour of change as the lower ranked players would surely want it, so they could potentially move up in the game quicker.