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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 July 2006, 09:19 GMT 10:19 UK
Hunter cleared to take year out
Paul Hunter
Hunter in action at The Crucible earlier this year
Paul Hunter's application for a year out from snooker to continue his fight against cancer has been granted.

His fellow players voted for a change in the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association rules which would let them freeze a player's ranking.

The freeze can only take place if the player will miss an entire season because of an illness or injury.

And the WPBSA has now ruled that Hunter, 27, can retain his world number 34 spot once he returns from treatment.

The three-times Masters champion will have the option of rejoining the rankings list at the same position at the start of the 2007/08 season, with the 6,800 points he earned in the 2005/06 campaign still intact.

Hunter, from Leeds, was diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumours, a rare form of cancer, last year.

But following the WPBSA's decision he now intends to focus fully on his treatment over the coming months.

His withdrawal from the World Snooker tour has created an extra place which has been awarded to Germany's Patrick Einsle, who reached the semi-finals of the 2006 European U19 Championships.

And Einsle has already been entered into the qualifying rounds of the Northern Ireland Trophy, the first ranking event of the season.

The 19-year-old is set to play Kidderminster's Lee Page in his professional debut at Prestatyn on Saturday.

Hunter had entered the tournament as a precaution if his request for a year off was turned down.

Hunter admits to playing in pain
17 Apr 06 |  Snooker
Players support Hunter on return
13 Jan 06 |  Snooker
Hunter ready to start treatment
22 Apr 05 |  Snooker
Hunter is diagnosed with cancer
06 Apr 05 |  Snooker

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