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.


wild said...

Rules in Snooker are clean cut that wasent therefore it came as a bit of shock to everyone.

in Tennis,Football,Cricket you name it Refere or umpire Decitions are questioned every few Minutes it seemed so its accepted more.

Mark Williams was Wrong but Angry with the Decition theres nothing wrong in that it shows Passion for Winning whitch every top Sportsman should have.

RichP said...

'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'

Surprised about the spectator line in there. Does that mean the refs can turn to joe public to get advice or have I misunderstood the definition of what a spectator is?

Anonymous said...

Glad it's all over, and that it's been concluded so speedily.

Anonymous said...

"Spectator" most likely refers to commentators. If they asked someone in the audience I think that would probably be a career-ending action.

John McBride said...

Eirian, or Mark Williams, were not open to question here.
The situation which brought the original question of the rules into place, was.
Has that been addressed/answered?
With the greatest amount of respect, I don't think it's even been considered never mind addressed.
Let me just say, when we uncover such anomalies in anything that may influence a result in our game, they need to be addressed & answered with a business ‘deep dive’ approach, immediately & not communicated back 'by the book', because this is still open & the possibility of this situation occurring again, is almost certain.
We have a gap that needs to be filled here & a bit more than presence is required to fill it.
My advice would be to ask the Referee's on this one & listen to their feedback, update our rule book accordingly , & most importantly, abide by it.

Anonymous said...

WPBSA took the easiest path, as always. It's obvious it was red first and it's also obvious Eirian Williams is not a good referee and keeps getting away with it.

Mark Williams has my sympathy, he was right all the way.

Anonymous said...

@RichP. Yes it means the help by a spectator. I saw it at a European Championship: the referee didn't see the player made a correct shot and called "Foul and a miss". But when he heard the discussion between the crowd (perhaps ten persons :-)) ) he asked the spectators and changed his decision. So don't sleep. Your help could be necessary. ;-)

Fozzie said...

The 'spectator' line also made me look twice. Surely they can't be telling the refs to turn round and ask the crowd what they think? Previous comments suggest that spectators maybe TV commentators. If so that seems equally as crazy. I can just imagine Dennis Taylor trying to gesture to the ref through a soundproof box - it would descend into a farce. If refs aren't sure of an incident they should only make a decision by viewing TV replays or getting advice from the WPBSA marksman.

Anonymous said...

Give it a rest McBride. This is the only time anyone can ever remember this happening. The rule book doesn't need to be updated for something that happens once every 20 years or so.

jules said...

The question i would ask is that after the 'foul or not foul' the ref first declared a foul and then a miss,he then changed his mind.
How can you call a foul and then not??

John McBride said...

@ No name 11:05
"The rule book doesn't need to be updated for something that happens once every 20 years or so."

Really? Run a tight ship do you? How many times does something wrong need to happen in your eyes before you realise there is something wrong?
Roll on....

Anonymous said...

john (i wasnt 1105)

just because he started with the "give it a rest" sentence doesnt mean his opinion is less valid than yours.

i can see both sides. updating rules will never cover every scenario, so with that in mind i usually tend not to get my panties in a knot over them

John McBride said...

@ Anon 1:22pm, fair enough, but what was constructive about his post?
As I see this, this is/was a wonderful opportunity to plug this gap because believe me, it will happen again & the people who will need to make the correct decisions need to have the answers. Do they have them now? Course they don't.
I am however pleased to read that Alan Chamberlain will be issuing formal guidelines on the interpretation of this rule.
In my opinion, we need to engage with referee's more, listen to them & support them because it is they who will need to have the answers if not for all, certainly most, of the eventualities that come before them.
Every problem that is addressed, should be looked upon as an oppotunity to improve our game. That is my underlining point here.

Anonymous said...

the constuctive part of his post is, im assuming, that no matter how tight you make rules there will always be new scenarios.

he thinks its that few and far between in this instance that updating wouldnt really matter.

having read the actual rules id say there was enough guidlines originally, but the heat of the moment and the occasion (final session of a major final) magnified its case.

as i said, hes entitled to disagree.

Anonymous said...

seifer talking nonsense and flaming subjects on the internet.

the big wheel keeps on turning

Anonymous said...

Red first, its as plain as the nose on your face.

Anonymous said...

how can reaching the right decition be classed as laughable ?

he got his original decition looked at and changed because it was the right thing to do.

a bad ref would have stuck to his original and wrong decition come what may and ignore truth.

the only idiot talking nonsense on here on a regular basis is you.

now jog on.

Anonymous said...

thankfully you are in a minority of about 7, seif.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:43 yes, it was red first. That's why Eirian Williams did not call a foul. And how can you say that Mark Williams was "right all the way".

Seifer, good to see you're an Eirian Williams fan ;-)

jamie brannon said...

I found Dennis Taylor amusing on a A Question of Sport last night, partly through his lack of snooker knowledge but also his general wit.

Not the best commentator but seems like a top guy.

Anonymous said...

thanks for your input on the subject jamie

Betty Logan said...

I think Dennis Taylor is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. He frequently suffers from memory loss about basic snooker facts, and the number of occurences seem to be increasing. I hope I'm wrong, but he really needs to get tested.

Anonymous said...

haha A Fistful of Anonymous'! I think Sergio Leone missed a trick...

Anonymous said...

Seifer Almasy said...
haha A Fistful of Anonymous'! I think Sergio Leone missed a trick...

7:37 PM

i was the 349 anonymous
my name is craig
dont know how puting a name to a post makes the point more or less worthwhile.

youre a strange boy!

Dave H said...

The nature of some of the comments give this blog a bad name: and that's my job.

If you disagree with someone, explain why. You don't have to chuck insults around like confetti.

I'm sure in the 'real world' people are better able to have a discussion without it descending into the Jerry Springer audience.

Anonymous said...

Look Dave it ain't me. I come here, give my opinion and then have to witness all these anons (or "craig") turn up insulting every post. You have the power to let or not let posts through, including mine.

So any post that attacks a person, don't let through. That solves the issue and it isn't unreasonable.

Dave H said...

OK. I will delete your post attacking Eirian Williams.

kildare cueman said...

Williams the ref was perfectly right. He wasnt 100 per cent sure which ball was hit first and had to make a judgement call.

Given the nature of Selbys shot (a "calling all pockets blast"), he probably swung towards the foul call.

When he thought the players had a different opinion to his own, he was man enough to accept he might not have been right and proceeded to make, what is now perceived to be the correct call.

Incidents like these, where the answer is not obvious, is always going to be the referees decision, even though he might only be 51 percent sure. If something emerges that changes his perception 52-48 the other way, then he should change his mind and make the decision he feels is most likely the correct one.

Personally, I think the ref should call a foul in that scenario. Refs are not machines, and if you blast the cueball at speed and its close, but not conclusive, the benefit should be given to the non striker. If you dont want to be fouled, make sure you hit the object ball WITHOUT any doubt.

Anonymous said...

lol dave at 908

also thank you dave for letting my post thru at 349

it didnt attack anyone...and i didnt post the other anonymous posts *at* seifer. obviously there are loads more who think you (or know from experience you) just like to be in the spotlight.

still seifer you can think what you like that they were all me. dave should be able to tell otherwise, but im sure he doesnt care as long as my post isnt attacking, which it isnt.

thanks again dave
craig (one of many who dont think posting a name next to my pov makes it any more or less worthwhile)

Anonymous said...

Williams the ref was perfectly right.

< you then go on to say that he should have given a foul because there was doubt???

kildare cueman said...

7.24. Please interpret the first sentence in the context of the first paragraph.

Anonymous said...

i am glad thats the matter cleared up.

(i understood what you meant fully KC.)