Calabrese Resigns Tour Card

CalabreseAn interesting bit of news these evening as with the updated world rankings following the Welsh Open, World Snooker have also revealed the news that Australia’s Vinnie Calabrese has given up his main tour card with around two and a months to run and has therefore been removed from the world ranking list.

Although no reason has been given, fellow professional Matt Selt was quick to reply to my tweet a short while ago and suggested that the reason for Vinnie’s decision is in order that he can now enter this year’s Oceania Championship as an amateur and if victorious, earn a fresh two-year tour card from the start of next season.

I had not thought of that at first glance, but on reflection that would appear to be the logical explanation for this move, with the prospects of him otherwise earning enough prize money before the end of the season to stay on tour looking remote.

If, like me, you like to follow things like this closely, you may ask the question as to whether he would be allowed to re-qualify in this manner, despite having been a professional this season. There is a paragraph in the tour qualifying criteria which states:

“Players may not re-qualify onto the Tour via an amateur event which carries a guaranteed Tour place for the following season.”

Some of you may however remember that a similar issue cropped up last year when Thailand’s Thanwat Tirapongpaiboon dropped off the tour, only to immediately win the Asian U-21 Championship in the summer.

On that occasion, it was confirmed by World Snooker that the rule was only intended to apply to players who re-qualified whilst being professionals, therefore following Vinnie’s resignation, he is free to compete in the Oceania Championship as an amateur and now regain a tour place that way.

It is perhaps a slightly unusual step for Vinnie to take, but in the circumstances a pragmatic one and one that gives him the best chance possible to earn an immediate return to the main tour.

  • ANON

    TBF, looking at the results from last year’s Oceania championships, he’s probably not blocking the way for anyone else by doing this. Every chance that Steve Mifsud could do the same thing next year I suppose.

  • mics147

    You can’t blame Vinnie for this, it’s just a clever decision, but World Snooker, the IBSF and all the other amateur councils should make their rules more clear in terms of tour cards and ways to qualify.

  • JIMO96

    This sort of thing will always happen so long as the WPBSA maintain a ‘cap’ on the amount of tour players at 128 or whatever figure. Because all of the qualifiers are played in England, it’s no surprise that overseas players cannot maintain 2 years at the bottom end of the rankings. See also: Khaled Aboumdas, Ju Reti, Jin Long, Hossein Vafaei Ayouri, Igor Figueiredo etc etc etc. These players all might as well relinquish their tour cards as well (some have!) Cash issues, visa issues, homesickness issues….these have all played a huge part in destroying the notion of a ‘worldwide’ sport.

    If all of these players resigned their cards in March, you’d have around 100 entries for the World Championships. I think the notion of ‘tour card’ has to be scrapped, and that players should be free to join the WPBSA and enter events as and when they please. Having token international tour cards like the examples above, occupying 120-downwards in the rankings (I know Vinnie was higher…but not much!) just makes a mockery of the ranking system. There have been 900+ different players entering events carrying ranking status in the current cycle…is Khaled Abumdas (for example) honestly the 128th ranked of those?

    To help these international players develop, and for snooker to gather momentum in their countries, the WPBSA could do so much better than resort to tokenism. For example:

    – throw events open to anyone who can hold a cue and pay an entry fee (they do it for PTC events, why not the Australian Open?)

    – take qualifying out of England…at least to some degree. For example, hold qualifiers in the UK for around 80% of the spots, and hold it for 20% in the actual country the tournament is held

    – give ranking points to everyone and extend the list down to 1000 players like other sports do (and quit relying on ‘top-up’ lists)

    – wild cards to specific events given to title holders who would currently gain a tour card (e.g African champ, Americas champ) and let them earn ranking points

    – more PTC’s that middle-lower ranked players can compete at their own level in, and spread them out world wide (we currently have about 11 main ranking events supported by just 9 PTC’ should be many many more to give overseas players a chance to earn cash/points

    – players count only their best 16 (or so) performances within a 1-year ranking system. This would prevent the big names entering all these extra PTC’s and allowing lower ranked players to find their level

    It’s a shame Vinnie et al can’t prosper on the tour within it’s current structure, but I can’t blame him for preserving his interests like this.