Phasing out the Covid Effect on our Rankings

As none of us will need reminding, the World stopped in early 2020 and while the FIR rankings are inconsequential to the events of the pandemic, decisions were made to preserve the rankings in a period of no regular tournaments.  With the exception of the strictly limited 2020 Austrian Open, there were no FIR World Tour events from the Luxembourg Open (22nd to 23rd February 2020) and the London Open (31st July to 1st August 2021).  Traditionally, the FIR World Rankings have been based on a rolling 24 month window with all counting tournaments in that period included in a players World Ranking.  However, with an 18 month window of all but one tournament being cancelled, a modification was required to ensure that the World Rankings were sustained.  That modification was to extend the period from 24 months to 42 months, which added 18 months to the rankings, allowing us to bridge the Covid related gap in our calendar. In short:

  • In the pre-Covid days, FIR always based its ranking on a rolling 24-calendar-month ranking period.
  • During Covid, we lost lots of tournaments and changed this to a 24-tournament-month basis.
  • Because we lost 18 months worth of tournaments, this meant the Ranking Period was extended to 42 calendar months

The upcoming 2023 London Open will take place almost two years after the 2021 London Open which marked the re-opening of the World Tour, and as such we will have passed through the Covid period, and even with the added 18 months the early 2020 tournaments in Thailand, India, Austria and Luxembourg will have dropped from the rankings.  We are aware that through 2021 into 2022 there were continuing restrictions on events and travel to varying degrees and so the 42 month window will be slowly phased back to the 24 month window over the coming months with the transition completing in March 2024, when rankings will be based on the period March 2022 to February 2024. However it is worth noting that the biggest jumps in this change (from 41 months to 33 months) will occur when we publish the August rankings, and (from 33 months to 26 months) when we publish the September rankings.  By the September rankings, the ranking period will have changed from February 2020 (in the July rankings) to July 2021 in the September rankings. There will then be a period of stabilisation at 26 months before we move to 24 months in March 2024. 

That we are in a position to make this change now is a testament to the hard work of our tournament organisers, who battled local and international rules and regulations during the pandemic, often running the risk of them changing last minute; and also to all of you, our playing community who have kept the sport going during the difficult times of the pandemic. Without you, we would not be discussing the finer points of ranking months, but trying to keep the sport alive or maybe having no sport at all. 

James Pope

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