The WPBSA are to launch an inquiry into the incident in frame 17 of the Shanghai Masters final which Mark Williams has blamed for him losing the match.

A statement read: "The match was stopped for several minutes while referee Eirian Williams had to make a difficult call as to whether Selby had hit a red or the pink first when escaping from a snooker.

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson called for the inquiry following comments made by both players after the match.

The inquiry will be led by Ferguson and former referee Alan Chamberlain and will include statements from both players and the match referee.

Ferguson said: "I want to make very clear from the outset that this inquiry is not part of any disciplinary procedure and has no effect on the outcome of the match. Mark Selby is a deserving champion and won the match fair and square. Our rules state that any decision by the referee is final.

"However, through this inquiry we will look to establish tighter guidelines for referees when such difficult decisions need to be made.

"A further statement will be released once the inquiry is complete."

I'm pleased to hear no disciplinary charges will be brought against (Mark) Williams for what were heartfelt but heat of the moment comments immediately after the match.

Mark still believes it was pink first and still believes the incident cost him the title. Whether others agree with that or not, he is entitled to believe it.

Certainly, the incident did swing the momentum Selby's way but it was a very difficult decision for the referee, Eirian Williams, as indeed it would have been for any official in the same situation.

I also credit Ferguson for not just brushing all this under the carpet and for releasing a statement immediately, which certainly wouldn't have happened in days gone by.

However, whatever the result of the inquiry, it won't change the result.


Anonymous said...

mark can believe it was pink until he is blue in the face the facts are it was red no if but or maybe about it.

the decision was correct and the inquiry in to the decision is welcomed so that its proven that Mark Williams and even more importantly Seifer "Ive got a hell of a lot to say" Almasy is proven wrong.

Anonymous said...

Any comment to make Dave regarding the terrible Eurosport coverage of the final.Pulling the plug at 7/7,surely you have an opinion?

Dave H said...

I've already given my opinion, which was that it was unfortunate but that it was either the snooker or the 21st and final stage of the Vuelta, which is more popular in terms of audience

The good news now with the streaming though is that people could still watch online

Anonymous said...

Fair enough Dave,but not much point in broadcasting a tournament if you are not going to show the final in its enterity.

Anonymous said...

in britain id say snooker pulls more audience than cycling, cant comment on the continent though.

Anonymous said...

In the meantime, let's hope Selby doesn't have to wait another three years to win his second ranking title...

Dave H said...

In the unlikely event that I was ever put in charge of scheduling I would put snooker on all the time

Well not all the time, I'd also show plenty of 3 cushion billiards

Anonymous said...

selby will never again win his second ranking title.....next time it will be his 3rd :-)

likahokeith said...

I've watched again and again in Youtube. It's too fast to catch the cue ball, but finally I'm sure that red ball was hit first.

Anonymous said...

Dave H said...
In the unlikely event that I was ever put in charge of scheduling I would put snooker on all the time

Well not all the time, I'd also show plenty of 3 cushion billiards

your best post ever dave.
should have been a blog topic post.

also, the OP. calm down about seifer. ive had a go at many things he says, but you dont need to bring him in to your OP when hes not even posted.

i know both players. i think it was pink first.

just like you only THINK and DONT know for sure.

if an enquiry proves it one way or another nobody can say for a FACT they were sure, cos they only think that.

unless they have nanofantopanto eyes

Greg P said...

This is good news.

It hit the red first. You can see the trajectory of the cue ball was altered by the red. I expect the inquiry will come to this conclusion, if not they might as well call Rodders back in and have him run the show again. Although the slow-mo footage is limited in terms of frames the "upside" of this is you can actually see the "tail" of the cue ball when you slow it down to a really slow speed. You can see it goes from a diagonal path across the table to a more horizontal path into the pink (you can only just see it). Well that's my view of it anyway.

I hope they agree with me and Eirian gets an apology from MJW although his anger is understandable in the heat of the moment.

I think Clive would agree with me and everyone else who says it was red first but I guess you guys at SS are gonna be diplomatic about it and wait for the inquiry.

wild said...

it cant be pink first thats physicly impossible and unless there was screw on the white even hitting the red after the pink was imposible.

it could be a Simultaneous hit then the red would move. however from the direction of the white and then the deviation when passing the red as shown here http://www.snookerisland.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=263&t=2850 there is no doubt at all it was red first.

Anonymous said...

Am I remembering correctly? Wasn't Alan Chamberlain having his last appearance as referee in the 2007 or 2008 World Championship´in the Selby/Dott QF?

When the cueball did or did not went in/off and then he refused to clean the ball?

jamie brannon said...

What I don't get is why the snooker is not switched to EuroSport2, when they were not showing anything live.

I'm not having a dig at EuroSport - as think people need to realise snooker is not all they do - but just curious.

Would have thought tennis might get a look in your schedule. It seems to be your second favourite sport judging from your tweeting quantity.

I actually listened to the final on radio which was maddeningly frustrating as the tennis sounded high quality, perhaps even the best ever, according to Jeff Tarango.

Ashame the next big ranking event is not until December.

James P said...

What hasn't been mentioned in the aftermath of this incident, quite surprisingly from my perspective, is the way in which Selby actually played the shot in question.

As far as I can tell, he fairly quickly decided that there was no obvious route by which to leave the cue ball safe, and then proceeded to get down and tank the cue ball off the side cushion at a quite ridiculous pace.

Now when all is said and done rules are rules - and for what it is worth I think that on this occasion it was red first (though I certainly wouldn't have liked to have been responsible for making that call in the match itself).

However, whilst this means that Selby technically did nothing wrong, my opinion is that he was more than a little disrespectful to have played the shot in such a nonchalant manner. Clearly hitting and hoping is sometimes the only option, but nevertheless it does perplex me that shots like Selby's can be deemend entirely sporting and professional when we have such a strict miss rule in operation in the modern game (one that on many occasions sees players being punished for skilfully finding a path to safety off three or four cushions, only to miss a nominated ball by millimetres).

For me, it is therefore the manner of Selby's attempted hit and hope that probably serves to explain a lot of why MJW was so cheesed off for the remainder of the final.

Perhaps, in the aftermath of all of this, greater scrutiny should be paid to working out how these kinds of situations might be better accounted for in the rules of the game (instead of focusing so intently on the specifics of whether the referee got the call right or not).

Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

and won the match fair and square. Our rules state that any decision by the referee is final.

2 things wrong with that. He didn't win fair and square and the refs decision wasn't final because he reversed it.

Dave H said...

James, I think there is a difference between Selby's hit and hope and, say, Quinten Hann just smashing the balls around.

In Selby's case it was desperation rather than petulance. There is always the chance of getting lucky, which he indeed did. I don't agree it was disrespectful.

Snooker is a game, not a science. All this talk of getting rid of flukes or clamping down on shot choices would make it deathly dull.

Anonymous said...

Snooker is a game, not a science. All this talk of getting rid of flukes or clamping down on shot choices would make it deathly dull.

I don't agree. The crowd would still ooo and aah and only fluke pots would disappear. Fluke snookers would still happen, so would fluke positions. There is no way to legislate them.

The game would still be exciting without ruining the matches of numerous players with what is blatantly against the ethics of fair play.

You should not be able to miss a shot and be rewarded for it. This isn't just for us as spectators, it is their job and livelihood.

There are numerous arguments made against the fluke rules and I have vanquished every single one of them. One of the main ones that pop up numerous times is that it will make Snooker dull. It won't.

The second thing to mention here is the miss rule. Surely they need to look at this again because it is not fit for purpose and so many games descend into a farce of putting balls back or massive point gains.

Cloudy said...

I would suggest that anyone who thinks the inquiry will look at whether the pink or the red was hit first are 100% misguided.

I presume the inquiry will look at the procedure and whether Eirian Williams handled the situation correctly, and in similar circumstances, how would a referee handle the situation in the future.

In my opinion Eirian Williams handled the situation badly. Whether or not he got it right, I think the fact that he used "video evidence" to decide was wrong, as this is not part of the game. He called a foul, and should have stuck to it. The situation would have been much clearer to both players, less confusion all around and nobody would be talking about the incident, just talking about the game itself.

Anonymous said...

sick of this troll

bring back mr hey you. all is forgiven

Anonymous said...

Oh god he's awake again. 4pm an early start for you Seifer, got any plans for the day?

James P said...


Thanks for responding, I have to admit your argument does sound stronger than mine.

I guess my underlying point was really just that it seems undesirable for such important matches to turn on nothing more than blind luck, which for any purist in any sport is always slightly uncomfortable.

Of course the counter argument to that is that good players will be able to respond to a bit of bad luck and produce something extra special to overcome it - something that Williams could perhaps have done himself if his attitude had been different after this particular incident.

The other massive obstacle to doing something about flukes of course - whether you think they add entertainment value for the neutral or not - is that there will be instances where the player's intention prior to playing a shot is not entirely clear. How would that ever be resolvable? I simply don't know.

On balance then, I would rather see a game with clear cut and objectively enforceable rules than one with rules that rely upon the referee's judgement of a player's intentions (which, incidentally, is precisely what makes the miss rule as it stands so unpalatable).

1-0 to you.

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think the inquiry is to decide whether it hit the red or pink first. It's to give guidance to referees when similar situations arise in the future.

Also, you could have watched every ball potted on Eurosport Player. T'internet is the future!

Ray said...

People should calm down - nobody died.No matter what anyone achieves in snooker or any other sport it won't change the world. MJWs outspoken comments were totally out of character.He has always been graceful in defeat and I'm sure he will make a full apology sooner rather than later.
These clowns on this blog talking about "bottle" don't know the meaning of the word.Nobody has more bottle than Mark Williams,he's shown brilliance under pressure so many times over the years. I don't suppose these fools saw his semi-final against Robertson. If you wanted the archetypal temperament for snooker then Mark's laid back attitude is it.It won't be long before he is winning titles again. He loves the game so much and with the talent he's got I sincerely believe he will be winning tournaments well into his 40s.
Incidentally,if Jason Ferguson does nothing else he should make sure that freeze frame technology is available at all future tournaments - home and abroad. As for the incident, I've watched it numerous times and couldn't decide with any certainty exactly what happened.

Anonymous said...

Go invent your own brand of billards then Seifer and see how popular it gets. Flukes is not only part of snooker, it is a WELCOME part of snooker. It brings smiles to everyone's faces (except Seifer's) when a red catches the jaws and gets flung into another pocket. Or a multi-cushion shot that ends up being a pot. In the same way that the toughest snookers are sometimes spectacular flukes.

That is exciting and entertaining stuff.

And Selby playing a shot with tempo because that is the best option at hand is fine. This time around it just so happened that what happened, happened.

Anonymous said...

I bet Mrs Almasy is really happy with having to put up with a yapping dog, yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap, please STFU YOU BORING TROLL...

Anonymous said...

I will never go away, I suggest if free speech and tolerance are your peoblems, you leave the internet.

Simples ;)

147 said...

I don,,t see fifa rushing to bring in technology and look how well they do, nothing wrong with a bit of bad and good luck.I can,t bare selbys style of play but in fairness he hoovered them up after williams bottled the green.

Anonymous said...

It brings smiles to everyone's faces

Clearly you have never seen what happens on the amateur scene in a match for money. You would geta smile alright, wiped off your face with a knuckle duster.

You haven't got a shred of understanding for the reason rules exist. THE PLAYERS.

Anonymous said...

To me, Selby did nothing wrong, in fact the way he played the shot (9-7 beind on the verge of losing his 5th ranking final in 6)suggests he had mentally conceded the match. It's just MJW (and Eirian Williams') bad luck that the shot played out the way it did

Sonny said...

@Cloudy - World Snooker have confirmed the inquiry is to look at how the incident was handled rather than the shot itself.

You think it was handled badly, I think it was handled well. I think Mark Williams was justified in feel aggrieved by the very nature and outcome of the shot, but also don't forget the amazing slice of luck he had in the next frame when escaping from a snooker to fluke one back and the subsequent match winning chance that arose from it which he then squandered on the green (which may or may not have been caused by a kick).

From the point of view of Mark Selby, he was 2 down with 3 to play, 46 points behind, was faced with a near impossible shot and had been playing very badly for the previous 2 hours and was showing obvious signs of crumbling under extreme pressure. The chances of playing the "correct shot" and not leaving a red and losing the match were maybe 50/1 or more, so he took the decision most players would have taken in the circumstances and see if fate was going to lend a hand. It paid off and in the process proved to be one of the most significant match changing shots in ranking final history because he got lucky and it made him suddenly remember how to play snooker again.

The reason I think the incident was handled well is because neither referee nor player were sure which was hit first. Eirian didn’t immediately call foul, and only did once Selby sportingly accepted Williams judgement that it hit the pink first. Eirian can clearly be heard telling Mark Williams that Selby had conceded the foul (which was the only reason it was being called a foul) and that it was his choice if he wanted to have the balls replaced, that it was definitely an option, although they didn’t have the usual facilities (in other words “I’ll do my best”). So he wasn’t refusing to replace the balls as some have suggested.

Then when the big screen showed an overhead and he and Selby got a clear view of the shot, both felt it was red first. Then followed a discussion. In reality, once you’ve reached discussion stage how could it have any other outcome than no foul (if you accept the video evidence proves red first)?

Of course the real reason it’s such a talking point is because of how the balls landed after the hit and hope. And therein lies the beauty of it. If the same situation had occurred but an easy red been available for Williams, overturning the decision using a tv replay visible to players and referee wouldn’t have caused the slightest murmur among snooker fans and would probably have been applauded by the commentators as “common sense prevailed”. So the match situation caused it to be controversial more than the way it was handled by watching a replay and making a call.

The fact it came across at the time as a mass of confusion with no one really knowing what was going on is down to something called being human.

Jr said...

I take it as unlikely that the inquiry will try to determine whether red or pink was hit first.

But having some guidelines for how situations like this should be handeled in the future would be good. Personally I was surprised that the ref would even consider the video evidence. Even video replay is to be part of the game surely that should be regulated in the rules? (Maybe the ref decides to poll the audience next time.)

But if they are drawing up guidelines for the future there is no reason to ask specifically for the opinions of Selby, Williams and Williams. Any player and referee can have opinions on how the situation should be handeled in the future.

Anonymous said...

well said sonny
level headed outlook
not like some (one)


Anonymous said...

Can we just clear something up once and for all. Williams never once asked for the balls to be replaced, he asked Eirian to go to the replay to comfirm that it was the pink first. He was unhappy that Eirian was awarding him the foul when he said he had not seen it, and neither did Selby.

He did not want to be remembered for accepting a decision that the two others present had not witnessed on his say so, and that was his sole reason for asking Eirian to check if a replay was available.

His honesty cost him the title but I am sure he will win many more to compensate.

Anonymous said...

Wrong 12:23am Mark said it was pink.

Anonymous said...

1.39pm. Mark did say it was pink in his opinion, and he still stands by that. However people think he asked the ref to replace the balls and as he told Dave in the phonecall to him, that was never the case.

The only reason he wanted the replay was to confirm that it did hit the pink first, and I can only assume he spoke to Dave off the record as Dave has not said what he was told.

Cloudy said...

@Sonny, don't you think that if Eirian Williams had shown a bit more authority, and had more of a "my decision is final" air about him - instead of wanting to appease both players - then there would have been less confusion all around.
You say you thought he handled it well, but it left one player (rightly or wrongly) very bitter.
If the referee had used his naked eye to make the decision (which is what is supposed to happen, there IS NO recourse to video evidence in snooker as far as I am aware), and stuck to his decision (even IF both players had suggested video evidence) it would have been simpler, less contentious and we'd be talking about the snooker??

Sonny said...

I see your point but we wouldn't be talking about the snooker because someone somewhere with the aid of Youtube would have found the shot and highlighted red first and then it would have been the case that Selby would have been robbed of a chance to get back in the match, and there would be people saying he was gone and wouldn't have had the bottle which he eventually proved he had, etc etc.

Eirian doesn't usually have a problem with coming across as a figure of authority but yes there was a bit of indecision going on, but once he saw the footage and the red first he did what he should have done - asked to see it again for confirmation and then make a judgement call.

I don't really see a referee in the game who would have handled it much differently to be honest.

Anonymous said...

objectively it was just one of those things

hard to take for some more than others, but it only really came about as it was at a crucial stage

if it was the first frame thered be hardly any debate...

Anonymous said...

It was handled badly. We have a referee who went back on a decision when video does not show conclusively what happened, and both Williams and Selby had agreed it was pink.

If the video showed 100% that it was red I would be cool with it but it doesn't, and as much as Sonny will try to tell you otherwise, it is bad reffing. No where else do I remember a ref calling 3 times a foul only to reverse the decision on flimsy video evidence.

wild said...

problem is refs these days arent used to making decitions it hapens for them.

players own up to fouls.

miss rule states white must hit object ball.

everything is done for them to some degree.

in other sports refs/linesmen or umpires has to make judgement calls in snooker thats taken away from them with guidelines. that complacency sets in whitch blew up on sunday where nobody was comfterble with having to make a 50/50 decition.

Anonymous said...

i dont think it was handled badly at all

considering it was a one of situation which hasnt really happened before (at least in such a high proile match at a crucial stage).

i agree with sonny

Anonymous said...

I think the very fact there is an inquiry should tell you it isn't good reffing... Hmmmmmmm?

Anonymous said...

its not a inquiry to what happened doh

its a inquiry to what can be done to make it more clean cut next time.

Anonymous said...

its a inquiry to what can be done to make it more clean cut next time.

And that's because it was poor reffing.

Cloudy said...

You say it was a situation that hasn't happened before?

It was a close call as to which ball was hit first, that was all.
The referee has to call it, the players accept it, and move on.
Has happened thousands of times, at all levels of the game.

Anonymous said...


that is not what i said at all

try not to omit all of what was said and reply to it in full.

Anonymous said...

.....and once youve dont that list me a decent size list of all the high profile matches its happened in and at crucial points.

which you wont, cos it hasnt really happened before.

which was my point

which you chose to lop off the last part and respond to something that wasnt being said

Anonymous said...

The reason it hasn't happened before is that a normal decent ref decides it was a foul (which happened) and then sticks to it (which didn't).

Cloudy said...

1:19 Apologies, I did take your comment out of context - and you did stipulate that it was at a crucial point in a high profile match - once again apologies.

You asked me to name similar moments. I cannot - not because they haven't happened, but because none became talking points, because the ref made a decision, and the game quickly moved on, and they were instantly forgettable. Which is what should have happened on sunday.

Anonymous said...

i dont disagree clouds
it was the fact youd read what u wanted from my post
app accepted