Snooker: Evans and Ng offered pro tour cards in big break for women

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LONDON (Reuters) - England's Reanne Evans and Hong Kong's Ng On-yee have been offered two-year tour cards to play regularly against the men on the professional circuit, the World Snooker Tour (WST) said on Monday.

World Women's Snooker (WWS) president Mandy Fisher said the International Women's Day announcement ranked as "one of the most significant days in our history so far."

The WWS celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

"For our tour and most importantly our players to be recognised in this way represents a huge moment for women in snooker," added Fisher.

Evans, winner of the women's world championship a record 12 times, and Ng have been leading lights for 15 years with the pair dominating major competitions.

Ng is a three times world champion and also a former world number one.

"For many years we have championed the role of women in our sport," Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), said in a statement.

"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."

Places for women will continue to be offered every season at world championship qualifiers and Champion of Champions events.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)