The nineball pool revolution is underway: new rankings, more events and a fresh start

Matchroom President Barry Hearn has announced a major shake-up in the world of nineball pool and has promised to turn the game into a major global sport.

Hearn, alongside Matchroom's multi-sport director Emily Frazer, revealed the creation of a new global ranking which will become the cornerstone of the sport.

It is hoped that the introduction of a rankings system - which is sanctioned by the World Pool-Billiards Association - will give nineball a clear and much-needed structure.

Hearn said: "2022 is a massively important year for nineball pool. Matchroom are going to promote more and more events, and we're going to create bigger and bigger prize funds.

"For the first time, you have a major sporting company looking after the players and making sure the opportunities are second to none.

"We are going to make pool a major global sport."

The new ranking lists the top 32 players in the world and will be used throughout the year for qualification and seeding for Matchroom's nineball pool events.

The company is also set to stage eight tournaments this year as it looks to increase participation numbers on the professional stage.

Frazer said: "Finally players have a clear and transparent entry system to the biggest staged events in the world.

"With the support of the WPA, the nineball world rankings is a perfect opportunity to bring together the entire pool community. It is time we create structure and organisation within this sport.

"This announcement of structure is exactly what the sport of pool needed in order to push forward and commercialise."

From December 2022, the newly created ranking system will be based on prize money earned and will work on a two-year rolling period.

Frazer also confirmed that the new rankings system will only apply to nineball. She added: "The aim is nineball. This is only nineball rankings. The other disciplines in the sport of pool are fantastic. But we must look at the history of nineball, the entertainment factor of nineball.

"This is where the viewing figures are increasing. This is what engages our audience. Look at the Mosconi Cup that's just happened. The fans are increasing year by year. Nineball is the way to commercialise this sport and that is the way we increase the player's prize money."

The first event of the new year will be the Derby City Classic which gets underway on January 26 in Kentucky. This will be the first tournament under the new ranking system.

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It is hoped that the changes implemented will go a long way in establishing nineball pool as a major mainstream sport. In fact, Hear has expressed his hope in nineball becoming the biggest cue sport in the world.

He said: "We want to create opportunity, we want to reward excellence, we want to operate a meritocracy. We're going to change the world of nineball pool.

"For too many years there's been distractions, there's been egos, there's been financial mismanagement, whatever you want to call it. But it hasn't helped the case for creating nineball pool as the world's biggest cue sport.

"We know more people play nineball pool than any other cue sport out there. We've not been organised, not been sensible. But now is the time for all of us to get together, join forces on a journey that will transform and change this sport forever. It will be built around transparency and honesty. We will create a commercial success for the benefit of everyone involved."

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