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Reanne Evans and Ng On-yee offered professional snooker tour cards

The agreement has been hailed as one of the most significant days in the history of women's snooker.

Leading women's snooker stars Reanne Evans and Ng On-yee will be offered the chance to turn professional with two-year tour cards.

The agreement from the start of the 2021-22 season was announced to mark International Women's Day and gives the two top female stars in the sport the chance to compete against their male counterparts on a weekly basis.

Evans, from Dudley, is the most successful women's snooker player ever having won 12 world titles, while Hong Kong potter Ng has been world champion three times since 2015.

Evans previously received a wild card to play on the professional tour during the 2010–11 season but was unable to retain her place.

As well as the two cards, places will continue to be offered to female players at events including the World Championship qualifiers and the Champion of Champions tournament.

World Women's Snooker president Mandy Fisher told the World Snooker Tour's website: "I am thrilled that from next season two of our leading women's snooker stars will be able to take their place on the professional circuit.

"World Women's Snooker celebrates its 40th anniversary later this year and I can honestly say that today's announcement marks one of the most significant days in our history so far."

Jason Ferguson, chairman of governing body the WPBSA, added: "For many years we have championed the role of women in our sport, from offering opportunities for our women to compete at major professional events to our development of the WPBSA's World Women's Snooker Tour.

"We firmly believe that there is no reason why a woman cannot compete equally with a man and today's announcement underlines our commitment to women's snooker both now and in the future."

It has also been announced that there will be an expansion of the women's international cricket programme.

From 2026 onwards, 12 teams will compete in the T20 World Cup, up from 10, while in 2029 the 50-over World Cup will be brought in line with the men's event and feature 10 countries and 48 matches.

A new women's T20 Champions Cup, meanwhile, will be played in 2027 and 2031.

International Cricket Council chief executive Manu Sawhney said: "We have a clear focus and commitment to an ambitious long-term growth plan for the women's game."

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