The decision to ensure Ali Carter will retain a top 16 seeding for the rest of the season is a good and humane one by World Snooker.

Carter has missed several events due to his treatment for lung cancer but will now be guaranteed a place in the Masters and World Championship. He will also play in the Champion of Champions tournament if players already qualified win Asian Tour event 2 and the International Championship.

Credit should especially go to Jason Ferguson, the WPBSA chairman, who has taken a particular interest in Carter’s case since he was diagnosed. Although there was some ambiguity on how the rankings freeze would originally work, the sentiment behind it was sound.

Carter’s ranking will continue to fluctuate depending on results, but he will be guaranteed a top 16 seeding regardless.

Of course, someone – namely whoever is world no.16 for the seeding cut-offs for the Masters and World Championship – is going to lose out. But their hardship hardly compares with that of Carter.

So the governing body has acted properly in this case, for which there was no real precedent. The ability to freeze ranking positions was instituted when Paul Hunter was suffering from cancer. Sadly, in his case, there was no happy ending.


Photographs by Monique Limbos.