Ronnie O’Sullivan ‘wanted to prove referee was wrong’ in bizarre Crucible moment

Ronnie O’Sullivan claimed some referees “have it in for me” after a bizarre incident midway through the second session of his World Snooker Championship quarter-final against Stuart Bingham at the Crucible.

O’Sullivan was initially praised for an act of sportsmanship after seeming to play safe rather than opting to pot a red close to the black because he believed the black had not been spotted correctly.

O’Sullivan repeatedly asked referee Desislava Bozhilova to replace the ball because he believed it was rolling fractionally off its spot, incorrectly giving him an opportunity to pot it.

The world number one, who was 14 points behind at the point and on a break of 20, eventually lost the frame but was hailed for his gesture, with former world champion Neil Robertson, commentating on the BBC, calling it “the greatest bit of sportsmanship I’ve ever seen”.

However O’Sullivan provided a different take on the incident, telling Eurosport: “To be honest with you, some of the refs, I think they’ve got it in for me, so I just wanted to prove to her that she got it wrong.

“I didn’t feel good about potting the ball after that, but I just wanted to make the point. The point was made. I’m not that hungry to win it in that way, so once the principle’s been made I can sleep at night.”

Bozhilova, 31, has refereed on the professional tour for 12 years, and officiated in the respective Masters and UK Championship finals in 2022.

The WST refuted O’Sullivan’s allegations and insisted Bozhilova acted correctly throughout the incident.

O’Sullivan and Bingham began their concluding session tied together at 8-8, and shared the first two frames of the evening in their best-of-25 frame encounter.


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