Song on Standby as Higgins Watches on

Global Snooker

There has been no news for some time now on the John Higgins saga but today World Snooker have announced a ‘new rule’ which could see China’s Liu Song take his place should his suspension remain in place for too much longer…

The new rule as stated over at here reads:

The Association reserves the right in its sole discretion to offer a concession to any person to play on a Tour in a Tournament where a vacant space arises as a result of the suspension of a Member who has qualified for a place on the World Snooker Tour.  Any person offered such a concession will be the lowest seeding position on the Tour.

This concession right will be exercised on a Tournament by Tournament basis.  It will be a condition of entry for any person offered such a concession that, should a suspended player be eligible to rejoin and resume his place on the Tour, the concession place will be withdrawn.

With the Shanghai Masters qualifiers set to be begin on the 2nd August,  a decision will have to be taken relatively quickly if Liu is indeed to replace Higgins for both that tournament and the World Open. While I am not suggesting that this in any way implies that Higgins is guilty, it perhaps does suggest that a final decision on the matter is not imminent.

On what criteria have they selected Liu? As you can see from my 2009/10 one-year ranking list, of the players not ranked inside the top 64 at the end of last season on the two year list, Liu is in 10th position, behind the eight who retained their tour status via the one-year list and Xiao Guodong who was given a wildcard spot.

Ok so that was a bit of a mouthful, basically he was the best player on the one-year list last season who isn’t on the tour already.

How this would affect the rankings is unclear, for example would he gain ranking points? Presumably Higgins’ absence would also be good news for Jamie Cope, Mike Dunn, Rod Lawler and James Wattana who would move up a tier and have one less qualifier to play, or in Jamie’s case none at all.