The WPBSA inquiry into the incident which turned the Shanghai Masters final has been concluded.
You'll recall Mark Selby played a high speed 'hit and hope' escape from a snooker trailing Mark Williams 9-7. It was not immediately clear whether he first made contact with a red or the pink.
The referee, Eirian Williams, studied replays on an arena monitor before ruling it was red first.
Mark Williams believed it was pink first and blamed (referee) Williams for him subsequently losing 10-9.
Jason Ferguson, the WPBSA chairman, said: "Whilst this inquiry was not to establish which ball was hit first, we have now analysed footage of the incident and whilst we would still say that the analysis is inconclusive, there is overwhelming opinion that the cue ball struck the red first. With this in mind we believe the referee's original decision not to call the foul was correct.
"In these situations the WPBSA rule (Section 5 Subsection 1 (c)) states:
'If the referee has failed to notice any incident, he may at his discretion take the evidence of the marker or other officials or spectators best placed for the observation, or may view a camera/video recording of the incident to assist his decision.'
"The question does raise itself as to whether a player has the right to call for this analysis. The WPBSA rules also clearly state that 'the referee shall be the sole judge of fair and unfair play', and therefore it is ONLY the referee that can ask for assistance either from the scorer, spectator or video replay if available.
"Formal guidelines on the interpretation of this rule will now been issued to referees by WPBSA Director of Rules Alan Chamberlain.
"The WPBSA also felt that some of Mark Williams's comments about the referee following the match were unfair; however we are pleased to report that Mark has since issued a formal apology to referee Eirian Williams."
So Eirian Williams has been vindicated. Personally I didn't think he did anything wrong in the first place. He was just trying to come to the right decision.
His job as referee is to ensure the players play to the rules and to adjudicate on decisions such as this, which was difficult and bound to be controversial.
On viewing various replays, it seemed to me that Selby had just caught the red first.
(Mark) Williams was disappointed that he had let the incident affect him but, in the heat of battle, these things happen. I'm glad the WPBSA have brought no action over a few comments made minutes after the final ended.
Snooker is fortunate that such controversies are rare. In general, the top referees are respected by the players and officiate with the utmost professionalism.
It is a shame that this incident overshadowed the final but such things happen in all sports. At least this has been resolved with the minimum of fuss
- Posts: 4623
- Joined: 20 December 2009
- Location: Sheffield
- Highest Break: 28
- Walk-On: Vangelis 1492 Conquest of Paradise