x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Mark Allen criticised for outburst on Chinese players

The Northern Irishman calls them cheats after loss to Cao Yupeng but fellow players do not see any merit in the outburst.

Mark Allen rubbed the Chinese players the wrong way earlier too, calling them ‘ignorant’.
Mark Allen rubbed the Chinese players the wrong way earlier too, calling them ‘ignorant’.

Australia's Neil Robertson and the snooker great Steve Davis both came to the defence of Chinese players after their integrity was called into question by Mark Allen.

The Northern Irishman made his controversial comments after a first round World Championship defeat by China's Cao Yupeng at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England, on Sunday.

Allen was adamant Cao, who won 10-6, should have called a foul against himself when the Chinese was just 5-4 ahead.

He then risked further controversy by saying: "It seems to be a bit of a trait for the Chinese players because there have been instances in the past, of fouls and blatant cheating going on. It needs to be corrected."

Allen had already upset Chinese snooker chiefs this season, saying Hainan, the island venue for the World Open, was "horrendous" and the people "ignorant".

Robertson, world champion in 2010, said: "We are going out there more and more each year, so it's always good for the players to be on good terms [with the Chinese], especially as they're putting a lot of money into the sport,"

"Sometimes things happen that maybe you don't like, but you've just got to get on with it … I think snooker and golf are probably the highest up there in terms of sportsmanship, with players declaring fouls or penalties on themselves."

Allen's outburst came a day after China's Liang Wenbo was praised for admitting a foul in the decisive frame of a 10-9 defeat by the defending champion John Higgins.

Davis, the six-time world champion, said the incident that had angered Allen, who accused Cao of a "blatant" push shot, was "arguable" and replays were inconclusive.

Davis, asked if Chinese players were prone to cheating, replied: "I don't think so." He said the situation may have been inflamed by Allen, a former world semi-finalist, having to go straight into a press conference after his defeat.

"It was obviously Mark coming straight off the back of his disappointment of losing, and … players are required to go almost straight into the press room … and they are at their most vulnerable. He obviously questioned his opponent's integrity.

"The dilemma is: whose responsibility is it, the referee's responsibility or the player's? The incident is arguable [but] Mark felt strongly enough to say what he did."

* Agence France-Presse