Carter’s Seeding Frozen For Remainder of 2014/15


Ahead of his anticipated return to ranking event snooker, World Snooker and the WPBSA have today announced that Ali Carter’s seeding will be frozen at 13 for the remainder of the 2014/15 season, ensuring that he will qualify as of right for both the Masters and World Championship tournaments this season, as well as potentially the Champion of Champions.

Click below for my thoughts and why I think that this is on balance a positive move, in the short-term at least…

Following Ali Carter’s victory at the invitational General Cup tournament in Hong Kong, there has been a wave of momentum amongst snooker fans for the two-time world finalist to be awarded a place at the upcoming Champion of Champions and even before then, debate here at PSB as to how the promise to Ali that his “standing as a player will not suffer” would be honoured.

We now have the answer here at World Snooker, as it has been announced that effectively they have gone with what was my ‘option 3’ suggestion, to protect his seeding at 13, where he was ranked at the start of his recent treatment.

This will ensure that Ali will qualify for both the Masters and World Championship this season, as well as potentially the Champion of Champions event – unless either the ongoing AT2 event or subsequent International Championship are won by another player not already qualified for Coventry.

Seedings Freeze – Good Move?

My initial reaction was that yes, this is a good and clear way to handle the matter. It was the first thing that came to my mind when a ranking freeze was first suggested as it is similar to the protected ranking system employed in tennis, another sport that I follow closely.

The advantage is that there is no ambiguity in terms of having to come up with an average or a standard amount of points to allocate, Ali’s standing in the game is simply protected in terms of tournament seeding and he is able to enter events at the same stage that he would have when ranked 13th.


The only snag that comes to mind when considering the position further is perhaps the obvious one of what will happen at the start of next season, when Ali’s protection expires. The position is perhaps best illustrated by looking at my latest provisional end of season rankings table, where Ali has slipped down to 27th position as it stands, owing to the fact that by the start of next season, the points earned from his victory at the 2013 German Masters will have been deducted.

There is therefore an argument to say that given the battle that Ali will most likely face if he is to make it to tournaments such as the Masters and World Championship in 2016 as of right, his “standing as a player” might in fact suffer as a result of his time away, which will only be fully rectified come two years from now when the six month hole in his ranking will have been filled.

That said, although the fall to 27th sounds quite dramatic, he stands ‘only’ £30,000 behind the top 16, an amount that could be bridged even with one good run at a major event, with plenty of cash still to be earned during the next season or two.

On balance then, I still think that it is a good way to have handled this particular problem.

Champions Consequences

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the decision however is the fact that it will apply to the upcoming Champion of Champions tournament, meaning that as it stands at least, Carter will take the 16th and final place ahead of Joe Perry, who only last week was announced as being in line for the position.

It is hard not to have sympathy for Joe in the circumstances, but overall I do think that the decision itself is the correct one. It was always envisaged that there would be some sort of measure taken in order to protect Ali’s position in view of his illness and considering the options that I had come up with last month, all of them resulted in Ali having a seeding of 13.


The difficulty and element of unfairness is more down to the fact that today’s announcement has come so late, in particular after they had already publicly announced the criteria for the Champion of Champions event last week. In hindsight it would have perhaps been better for that announcement to have been held back for a few days, or for the Carter decision to have been made beforehand.

That said, I can see why the decision has been delayed, clearly the governing body did not want to rush into a decision before fully understanding the consequences and what step would adequately compensate him in terms of his ranking. All things considered, I think that the ends probably justify the means in this instance.

And as I rather sarcastically said on Twitter earlier, who would now bet against Joe winning one of the next two events to claim the place back from Carter anyway?