Should Carter Be Sent To Coventry?


Following his fairy tale victory at the invitational General Cup tournament in Hong Kong yesterday, there has been some debate amongst snooker fans on Twitter as to whether Ali Carter should be awarded a place in next month’s invitational Champion of Champions event, set to be staged at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

On the face of it, the argument would appear to simply be one of sentiment against the rules, however looking beyond the surface there is perhaps another argument to be had, one already discussed here at PSB last month…


This week, World Snooker published the qualifying criteria for the £270,000 Champion of Champions tournament which you can view here. In short, 12 players have already qualified as event winners during the past 12 months, with the remaining four places set to be determined by ranking, unless there is a different winner at either of the next two tournaments, the AT2 or International Championship events.

On the basis of that criteria, Ali does not qualify for one of the 16 places and therefore will miss out on a return to the tournament at which he reached the quarter-finals in 2013.

There has been some debate as to whether he should now be awarded a place in Coventry, be it on the basis of the battle that he has won against cancer or due to the fact that he has won an invitational event in Hong Kong.

I can readily understand both arguments and see why fans would like to see him given a place at the event, but as much as I like Ali and would love to see him there, looking at it objectively I am not convinced by either.

For me, a criteria has been set out and as much as it would be a nice story for Ali to be present in Coventry, the governing body also has to consider whether it would be fair to whoever would miss out on the tournament as a result, in this case Joe Perry.

Although the event is not a ranking event, is it fair that Perry should miss out on the opportunity to walk away with the £100,000 top prize in order to accommodate Carter? I would suggest probably not and this is something that must be considered.


That said, there is another, perhaps stronger argument to be had to justify Ali’s inclusion in the tournament and this comes back to the question of how the WPBSA and World Snooker intend to ‘freeze’ or otherwise implement a protection of his world ranking, as was confirmed would happen back in June when he was diagnosed with his illness.

I considered this dilemma in great detail back in September and still we await a decision as to how exactly this will work. As a reminder, it was stated at the time of his diagnosis that:

“Following the recent announcement regarding Ali Carter’s current illness, both the WPBSA and World Snooker would like to make it clear that Ali’s current standing as a player will not suffer in relation to an extended period of time away from the tour. Further details will be released once Ali has completed his course of chemotherapy and wants to return to competition. We all look forward to welcoming Ali back to the World Snooker Tour in the not too distant future.”

The big question remains as to what exactly the bolded section of the statement means – is this a literal ranking freeze, or will it be applied in some other way. Clearly there is room for interpretation here and in my previous post I considered just four ways that I could think of as to how Carter’s ‘standing as a player’ could be protected by way of adjusting his world ranking.

The issue that arises in the context of the Champion of Champions event selection however, is the fact that the criteria for the event is that the ranking top ups have been allocated based on the world ranking list following the ET3 event in Sofia, however Ali’s ranking has not yet been adjusted in this ranking list.

Ali was ranked 13th at the time of his diagnosis and therefore there is an argument to say that if his ranking had already been frozen or adjusted, then he could in fact be ranked above Joe Perry and therefore should be eligible for the final place through the ranking list on merit.


Ultimately, the answer will depend upon how the governing body ultimately decide to approach the matter of Carter’s ranking and until then, we can only speculate as to whether he ‘would be in X position’ on the ranking list. Indeed there could be a shock winner at either of the next two events and perhaps both Carter and Perry would miss out anyway.

Still, at the time that I wrote my previous article, Ali would have remained 13th under all of the potential options that I had illustrated and some might say that Carter should not lose out on the basis that a decision as to how his ranking should be approached would appear to have been deferred until the last possible moment. There is certainly a debate to be had.

What do you think, should Ali be at the Champion of Champions?