Mark Williams has blamed referee Eirian Williams for his Shanghai Masters final defeat to Mark Selby.

Williams claimed the incident in the 17th frame (which I detail in the post below this one) had cost him the title.

He said: “I was robbed. The referee made such an appalling decision.

“I was right behind it and 100% it hit the pink first. He said it did then he turned around and said he didn’t see it.

“It’s an absolute joke. It cost me the tournament. The balls should have gone back. I don’t mind losing to anyone but the ref has cost me the title, no question.

“It was plain to see that he hit the pink. We didn't need to play it back. We should get Stevie Wonder to referee next time.”

Strong stuff, then. But if you watch the footage, (Eirian) Williams calls the miss after consulting with the players and walks over to (Mark) Williams to ask him if he will take it, which he could have done immediately. Selby, after all, had accepted the decision.

(Mark) Williams appears to ask for the freeze frame, only to be told that World Snooker do not have that facility at this tournament.

Selby then comes over, someone mentions a replay on an arena TV monitor and they turn to study it. At this point the earlier certainty it was pink first dissipates.

It was hard to tell on the replay but it looked like red first to me watching at home. However, Mark Williams was obviously a lot closer than I was and isn’t usually the sort to blame anything other than himself for defeat. TV replays are sometimes misleading.

I understand his frustration. Remember, these quotes were taken down literally minutes after the defeat.

There was no doubt his general demeanour changed dramatically after the incident and he was still seething at the end, which is very unlike him.

But it was a very difficult call for the referee to make, even after they had consulted the replays.

All a referee can do in that situation is give an honest opinion: which is what Eirian Williams did.

He also did his best to come to a decision that was agreed on by both players, although obviously Mark Williams sees things differently and, of course, the miss had been given and then retracted, which further confused matters.

I've known Eirian for a long time. Indeed, he had a cameo role in what remains one of the funniest things I've ever seen on the snooker circuit - in Shanghai nine years ago when Selby, jetlagged and confused, tried to hail a taxi to the venue at 1.30am, believing it was the afternoon. Eirian had to point out it was, in fact, pitch black outside.

He is a referee of integrity. Whether it was red or pink is a debate that, I suspect, will never be solved to the satisfaction of everyone.

If Eirian made a mistake it was perhaps in taking so much time but, again, all he was trying to do was come to the right decision.

However, he did actually originally call a miss, which (Mark) Williams could have taken without himself asking for further evidence.

I know (Mark) Williams doesn't see it that way and I respect that too because it was a strange, frustrating incident which had a huge bearing on the result, and the match arena at a key stage of a major final isn't always the best place for clear thinking.

Who is to say if they had put the balls back Selby wouldn't have fluked one and cleared up? Stranger things have happened.

This was an unfortunate incident at a vital time in the final. It reminded me a little of the John Higgins/Ronnie O'Sullivan UK Championship semi-final two years ago, which also threatened to turn on a difficult rules decision.

All in all a rather unedifying end to a gripping contest.


Dimitris said...

Dave may I quote you:
"...However, he did actually originally call a miss, which (Mark) Williams could have taken without himself asking for further evidence."
I also remember Eirian looking at MJW telling him it's a miss and the balls can go back (he told him maybe three times) then MJW thinks about it for a few sceonds and asks for the help of the video.
So in a way MJW was also unlucky not to have opted for a replacement of the balls there and then.
It wasn't meant to be I am aferaid.

Anonymous said...

Red first in my opinion, but quite frankly the ineptitude of a policeman, past or present makes me understand the mindset of the recent rioters.
They believe in nothing a uniform has to say.

Jaymes said...

Am I wrong in saying that MJW actually suggested the use of the camera in order to reposition the balls? That was my understanding.

Anonymous said...

Possibly yes Jaymes, maybe MW wanted a replay to find out where the balls needed replacing and this could have been misunderstood by the referee.

Anonymous said...

Am I wrong in saying that MJW actually suggested the use of the camera in order to reposition the balls? That was my understanding.

I don't think you are wrong, because Eiren clearly says that they don't have the facilities to place the balls back. At least that is how I heard it... He called foul and williams wanted them replaced?

Anonymous said...

I don't think Eirian called a miss right away because he didn't know for sure. Mark Williams acted like he was 100% sure that it was the pink but he couldn't have been, otherwise he would have had the balls replaced right away with a clear conscience. He didn't have the clear conscience because it was impossible to tell at normal speed never mind slow motion replay. I think he looked very bad during the discussion and it clearly upset his mental approach to the remaining frames. If a snooker player's head is not clear it makes the game so much harder. The referee had a little margin for error because a split ball is a foul. I think both welsh men could have done their jobs a little better. Mark should have remained professional and stayed quiet instead of saying it was the pink straight away. Eirian should have made a decision and lived with it, after all that his job and that's why he's there. If either of them had remained totally professional then Mark Williams would be the champion.

Anonymous said...

If either of them had remained totally professional then Mark Williams would be the champion

How so when Eiren refused to replace the balls? Mark was robbed and he is right. If you were on a frame like that and you know it hit pink and replay is inconclusive and the ref decided it was red on flimsy footage after already saying it was a foul, what would you do?

The ref made a huge mistake even IF the video evidence was FOR his final decision which it isn't as it shows no conclusive evidence.

Anonymous said...

it was conclusive any fool can see it hit red first.

in real time mark williams was to far away from it the ref admited he had no clue.

video was the only way and in the end the right decition was reached.

Anonymous said...

I also think it was pink first or maybe simultaneous hit on both red and pink, but never red first.
The ref clearly says "foul and a miss, Mark Williams 6", he actually says it again a few seconds after. Then MJW asks for the video to replace the balls and the ref says "We haven´t got it". but why didn´t they use that video of the balls seconds later to replace them?
What I think is that the ref, at first was sure that M.Selby hit the pink first, but then when the ref saw that video he was confused by it and, afterwards, said "I think it was the red, I think he just brushed the red". But clearly MJW was sure that Selby hit the pink first and so after that his head was gone. Very tough one to call, but I´d favour MJW on this one.

Daniel Schneider said...

judging from the video it was a simultaneous hit, which is a foul.

take look at 3.46 in the video: the balls don't move in that frame but both balls clearly move in the very next frame. so there is no evidence that the red moved first!

Kevin said...

The way I see it, the ref couldn't be arsed to place the balls back which lead to the unfortunate events that changed the ref's mind. The video wasn't conclusive enough and the ref wasn't completely sure either so it should have been a foul anyway, and the balls to be placed back rather than not calling a foul.

I'm sure that video technology they were viewing was sufficient to be used to place the balls back but nope, ref expected Mark to play on either foul or not.

Better luck next time Williams. the balls back which lead to the unfortunate events that changed the ref's mind. The video wasn't conclusive enough and the ref wasn't completely sure either so it should have been a foul anyway, and the balls to be placed back rather than not calling a foul.

I'm sure that video technology they were viewing was sufficient to be used to place the balls back but nope, ref expected Mark to play on either foul or not.

Better luck next time Williams.

Anonymous said...

And that is fact. In 1 frame no balls moving, in next frame, both are and no way to tell.

1. He called a foul.
2. Selby agreed.
3. mark agreed.
4. Mark asked for balls replaced.
5. Ref fixated on the video and changes his mind
6. Williams asking for replace now means it is no longer a foul.

This was the most incompetent reffing I have ever seen. Can you imagine Jan Verhaas doin' that?

Anonymous said...

Anyone with a bit of common sense and basic physics can see that it hit the red first. MJW's is a bad loser. I can understand him being disappointed but he was not robbed. he did not have the mental strength not to miss Greens that he should be potting with eyes closed

Nimrod said...

IT WAS THE RED FIRST! Don`t have to reply a thing. I`m surprised by Williams. Here is the simple reason: look at the cue ball. If it had hit the pink first, it means it came back from the pink to the red. If so, the cue ball after that should have gone DOWNWARD AND NOT IN THE DIRECTION OF THE PINK! For it moved as it moved, it can only be due to the red been hit thinly first, pink after, then the cue ball moving towards the pink due to some upper action left in the cue ball from the initial hit.

Strangely, everyone looked at the impact and not the white.

Anonymous said...

i cant believe anyone thinks that is red first....

if it thinned the red the red would have only moved slightly.....cos it was so thin.

to me, it hit the pink first, almost full ball, but slightly to the right of centre of full ball as you come from the cueballs path.

the white then kicks the red which sends it on an almost 90 degree angle to the whites original path and with much more speed than being (very) thinned and the white continued its forward motion....

that is what happened, certainly.

Anonymous said...

It is the referee's prerogative to change his mind provided the next shot hasn't been played, and the video playback seems to vindicate the referee's decision to review the shot. It shows good judgement, especially since the replay itself wasn't conclusive. If you can't tell from the video then I don't see how you could expect the referee to tell if it hit or not in the split second that it came into contact with the ball. So no refereeing boob here, it's no different to a line call in tennis.

kimball said...

The controversy that changes the game
is ref. Williams intial refusal to replace the balls.
Watching on Utube - impossible to say
red-pink or split hit! However, normally a ref always give the thumbs down for a shot played with that speed, if in doubt.
Done is done and as said, better luck
next time Williams!

Anonymous said...

The ref called a foul, that was clear. But it appeared to me that he wouldn't put the balls back which made me ask 'is he allowed to refuse to put them back?'.

I couldn't see if it was red or simultaneous. Either way, he called a foul and then it all became blooper territory.

Anonymous said...

IMHO Eirian should have stuck to his decision of the miss and replaced the balls as best he could on MJW's asking.

I personally believe that "refusing" to replace the balls because of a lack of technologies is a non-issue. ANY ref not reffing on a TV-table has only his memory he/she can use.

Again, IMHO, Eirian should have simply replaced the balls as best he could (keeping in mind it's simply humanly impossible to remember EXACTLY each balls on the table in situations like this) in consultation with both players.

As I've always been taught, that's what should happen anyways: both players need t obe consulted whether they agree with the position of the balls after replacing.

In my mind, Eirian apparently wasn't too sure and MJW's comments increased the doubt even more.


Anonymous said...


the ref cant call a fould unless he sees one.

though if both players agree...

Sonny said...

Seifer you are getting involved for two reasons:

1) Because you hate Mark Selby and can't handle the fact he won.

2) Because Erian Williams gave you a bollocking for dicking about at the Crucible, and in the process made you a laughing stock on your own forum.

To everyone else who is saying it wasn't red first, I'm afraid it was. I feel gutted for Mark Williams, totally gutted but it was red first.

Sparky said...

In reality, there's no such thing as a SIMULTANEOUS hit. It's a chance in a billion or trillion that you hit both balls at the very same instant.

I'm pretty sure it was red first. In one frame (the "before" frame), neither of the balls have moved. In the next frame both have moved, so in between these two frames (1/25 of a second, an eternity) both balls were hit.

Given the fact that pink gained most speed (say, 10x the speed of the red), if both balls were hit simultaneously, pink would have travelled 10x the distance of the red in the "after" frame. But it hasn't, pink has travelled only about 3x the distance of the red in the "after" frame.

Therefore, red must have been struck first.

John McBride said...

My only concern with this incident is that it doesn’t reflect well on our game. In my day to day job, for any account which is going live, I have to follow the ‘What If’ process, which basically means that I have to ensure all scenarios are covered by asking what if this happens, what if that happens, etc…before it can be agreed that the account will have a successful go live.

World Snooker need to look at themselves & ensure that every eventuality is covered & the correct resources are in place in case something like this happens again, which it more than likely will, & if it does, can be resolved in real-time using the technology that they already have at their disposal.

As for Mark Williams comments, well, he was gutted & as you’ve already quite rightly pointed out Dave, “these quotes were taken down literally minutes after the defeat”. Context needs to be kept here.

As for Eirian Williams, you can only feel for the fella being put in this position. The fella is as honest as a day is long.

As for the final, I thought it was a Great final, thoroughly enthralling, just gutted Eurosport had to cease coverage at 7-7.

Anonymous said...

Has Jan Verhaas said anything about this? I respect his opinion the most.

Tatannes said...

Shanghai has not the standard for Elite snooker.

Wild Cards, so many kicks, no video for replacing balls (what a joke) !

Anyway, something has to be done that miss rule.

Andrew said...

1. why no freeze frame at the event aka NOT GOOD ENOUGH
2. At that speed it should be treated as a simultanious contact which should be F&M MJW6
3. EW should not have changed his mind lacks confidence
4. Dislike MS for trying a "Quinten Hann" escape.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine Jan Verhaas doing that?

Erm, do you remember the incident in the semi final of the Uk two years ago when Jan didn't know the rule after Ronnie had missed a colour five or six times? He nearly cost Higgins his place in the Uk final that year. At the end of the day, ALL officials in every sport make mistakes from time to time. Yes i think Eirian was wrong in this instance, but at the end of the day Mark Williams had another two frames to try and win the one needed. So why blame the ref????

Anonymous said...

1029am. Why should Jan have an opinion on this? He wasn't the referee and both he and Eirian are the two most experienced refs in the sport. They are both assessors too, helping newer refs come through the ranks. I've seen Jan make mistakes more than once, and never has Eirian come out and said anything about it

Anonymous said...

a one in a billion or trillion to hit both balls at once?

some people on here have a vivid imagination

or dont know what those numbers mean

oh, and good points sonny

Sparky said...

@Anon 10:56
In fact, the chance is LESS than one in a billion or trillion. It's 0.0000000% chance of hitting both balls EXACTLY SIMULTANEOUSLY. If you have a nano-camera, or a femto-camera, you'll always see that one ball is struck first.

And yes, I know what those numbers mean, because i'm a teacher of mathematics and physics.

(However, the big issue is how MJW could be so certain it was pink, when it was so desperately close either way? He must have seen what he wanted to see.)

sanzzer said...

I think that the fact that the pink took off with much more speed, created an illusion that it was hit first. That may explain why the situation is more difficult to solve.

Anonymous said...

Why should Jan have an opinion? Because he is a top ref. Of course has an opinion and I would like to hear it. Nothing controversial about that and no disrespect to Williams.

Anonymous said...

we dont have a nonofantopanto camera though

Anonymous said...

Why don't we all wait for Eirian Williams to come out and explain his side of things before casting judgement?

Anonymous said...


if a ref in football calls a foul that isnt a foul i dont need for him to come out and explain prior to having an opinion on it....

Anonymous said...

Another insult from the man who runs snookerisland.com and wonders why more users aren't posting there.

Had this been ANY ref I would have been against it. He ruined the match, and only someone like you with an obvious agenda for Selby would think footage from a useless small screen running at around 25-30fps could tell you at that angle and ball speed whether it hit red or pink first.

The ref had made his call mate, but people like you are the reason the sport doesn't progress. You applaud the most incompetent reffing of all time and if there is counter opinion you immediately resort to attacking the person. No wonder your site will stay the way it is.

Anonymous said...

4. Dislike MS for trying a "Quinten Hann" escape.

The problem is we all know Selby is a poor champion, he has demonstrated it time and again with his slow gamesmanship. Even Higgins said it was torture playing him.

But you can't blame Selby for that totally, because the rules should be such that a man like Selby CANNOT prosper from his lack of respect and luck. The problem is the rules allow it. They allow blatant gamesmanship, they allow 22 points and more from the miss rule, they allow professionals to play like a 5 year old and win the frame from hit and hopes.

The rules allow it and people like many above think it is great that we have a skilled sport come down in the end to controversy, luck and bad rules. American pool realised what a farce fluke pots were and sought to minimise it by nominating non-obvious shots, and Snooker needs to do the same.

The rules are not set in stone, they were created at a time when livelihoods and professionalism were not the aim of Snooker.

jibjib said...

Seifer, if you eliminate flukes from the game, what do you do about kicks? Should the balls be replaced and the player allowed another attempt at the shot? A kick can cost someone a frame every bit as easily as a fluke can win it for their opponent.

And what happens if you fluke a ball as a result of a kick? Is that doubly bad luck or does the one cancel out the other?

Anonymous said...

Seifer, if you eliminate flukes from the game, what do you do about kicks?

I didn't say eliminate, I said minimise. And only fluke pots could be erradicated.

Anonymous said...

Kicks need to be eliminated by looking at why they happen.. there are so many theories and we need a way to minimise or even eliminate them, but rule changes will not work at all in the case of kicks. Rules can only work good on ABSOLUTES. Fluke pots are absolutes, you either did or did not make one. It is easy to legislate with rules which is why 8 ball pool has.

The miss rule is a disaster precisely because it is not an absolute. It requires human judgement. So what I am saying is that although you can minimise luck by erradicating fluke pots, you cannot eliminate luck altogether through rule change.

Anonymous said...

I suppose rather than bang my head against a wall, I should redirect you to a 50+ point by point argument.


Anonymous said...

has the blog being taken over is it now the Seifer Almasy Blog ?

hope dave enjoys his retierment knowing the blog in safe hands :-0

Dave H said...

Mark Williams has called me. He's says he was really disappointed yesterday but has calmed down now.

One point he wanted to make: he didn't want to take the miss when originally offered because he didn't think it should be his decision or want it to look like he was claiming an unfair advantage. He asked for the freeze frame because he wanted everyone to see for themselves.

His comments were made in the heat of the moment but, as usual, he has got over it pretty quickly, long before many others I suspect.

Anonymous said...

its good to see mark animated.

yesterday for possibly the very first time we saw the competitive animal mark Williams obviously is.

some people think he looks cant give a stuff, thats just his way you don't win the titles he has without being ruthless and the will to win burns bright.

Anonymous said...

simultaneous hit in my view, which is a foul.
and that's not one in a million.
I got called for a foul once in a match. aimed at and potted a red in centre pocket, ref said I hit pink simultaneous with the red, yet there was no deflection and white stayed on path to pot the red. to this day I swear blind I hit the red first and that the pink wasn't even close to the shot. Ref called foul. I left my opponent bang in the balls and they won frame and match.
things like that stick in the mind!

Anonymous said...

His comments were made in the heat of the moment but, as usual, he has got over it pretty quickly, long before many others I suspect.
=======Political Correctness

Anonymous said...

First and most important: you don't blame the ref. You accept his decision. Anything else is poor sportsmanship. It may sometimes be wrong but those are the breaks, there is always an element of luck in snooker - flukes, kicks ...

Second, I think the ref was right. In looking at the on-screen replay, he considered the directions in which the balls travelled after the contacts. That was much easier to see on the replay than when it happened. With this extra information, he changed his original opinion.

But, right or wrong, shame on those who attack this honest referee.

Anonymous said...

Williams made comment when he is high. Now after reflecting, he sees he is wrong and corrects his statement. I now think there is no dishonour for referee and Selby.

Anonymous said...

Mr Almasy

Go to specsavers

jibjib said...

Seifer - you eliminate fluke pots but still allow, for example, a player to fluke a snooker (which could potentially be every bit as frame-winning as a fluke pot). So, if a player flukes a nigh-on impossible snooker and his opponent flukes a red during his escape, his opponent is punished twice - once by the fluke snooker and once by a foul being awarded for his fluke pot. How is this fair?

What happens if a player nominates a pot but the object ball brushes another ball on the way into the pocket? Is this a fluke? Did the ball deviate enough to push a missed pot back on target? Will we have the unedifying sight of referees asking for endless slow motion replays to try to come to a decision?

What happens if a player pots a red and inadvertently flukes another red in the same shot? Would that be a foul? If not, why not?

If you remove one element of luck from the game, but leave others in place, all you do is create an imbalance. Far from making snooker seem fairer, it will lead to situations where it seems less fair - one players' good fortune is punished, whilst the other player's is not. In short, it's a ludicrous suggestion.

Anonymous said...

jibjib - you're wasting your time, trust me

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Mr Almasy

Go to specsavers

10:56 AM


mr 1056, go to humour class

i dislike seifer with a passion, but no matter whether you like him or not he has the right to think the pink was first or otherwise.

i think that it was pink first.

now, i am not a troll, so id expect respect for my opinion.

do like wise for SA in this CASE ONLY as hes not going on about shot clocks in rankers so his lover ROS starts winning majors again.

Anonymous said...

If you think it was pink first you've not looked hard enough. You emphasise "think". I "know" it was red first.

Anonymous said...

anon 11:57

how about nominate a pocket go round the angles twice and ends up in the nominated pocket.

fluke but entered the nominated pocket.

Anonymous said...

More insults? Yup you guessed it, the same posters still haven't learned the concept of debate and free speech.

And Dave hasn't learned to filter the comments off his blog which cripples it in a heap of crap.

Anonymous said...

fluke but entered the nominated pocket.

All of these are answered in the 50+ answer document I linked to. You must nominate the correct pocket and method on non obvious shots. Doubles that become triples, bouncing around the table shots, would all be illegal unless you nominated it to happen in that fashon. You would lose your go (no foul points awarded).

It is incredibly simple, and you are making it sound difficult. I have experimented with it in real games and indeed that is how me and my friends play the game now (aside from 1 of us who won't because he benefits from hit and hopes all too often).

Fluke pots are against the rules already as they award an unfair advantage. It really is as simple as that my friends.

Dave H said...

If I filtered the comments there would hardly be any comments.

The nature of the internet is that people feel emboldened to write things they wouldn't in a million years say to the faces of those they are slagging off.

If it were demonstrated that the nature of the comments on here put people off the blog then I would quite happily turn them off completely.

Anonymous said...

One thing I like about your blog Dave is that it allows free speech and doesn't go gung ho with deleting. I think that is good. But when people just write back an insult and that's it, or libel you are a member of the BNP or mention your mother...

I think that crosses the line.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for going off topic but that's just how some users want it...

so his lover ROS starts winning majors again.

I have never advocated changing the majors. This is a straw man. I have always been against changing the world champ in any way shape or form and I am horrified at what they have done to the UK Championship this year. I am surprised the players didn't rise up. I am also annoyed at what they have done to the Premier League.

For all Barry Hearns nous on Business, he clearly has no idea why Snooker needs longer frame formats and why the UK was special.

If you are going to insult me with things, please try to make sure they are things I am actually "guilty" of.

I want 4 majors in Snooker, like there are in Tennis. Tennis, a superior sport by rules and format and practically every way to Snooker in those terms, actually does have 4. And 1 of those is fundamentally different (Clay). I want a 4th major as a shot clock event. I also want draws to be seeded properly, so we don't get Mark Williams v Ronnie in R1 like we do in PTC5.

Snooker needs shaking up, and although Barry is great with business, he is clearly useless at these things.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to say that as much as I enjoy this blog (truly the number one blog) I would be sad to see the comments go. I enjoy reading them even if some people can be very annoying. And yes, it was immensely ironic that Seifer was the one asking for crap posts to be filtered out.

Anonymous said...

Eventually Hendon will realise that you "people" aren't going to go away from trying to silence me with insults and will have to step in.

In that way, you and people like you, will do what you have always done: Ruin forums.

You may as well get used to it, because from now on I will not be responding to any post that insults, and the only person that will be reflected poorly, will be you.

I suggest those of you who need to insult every post or divert every topic, go back to school and this time pay attention.

Anonymous said...

Williams and Ronnie are playing in round 1 because Mark is so low in the order of merit. If he was ranked even slightly close to were he should be then it would not be an issue.

Mark is refleted there based on his results in that series so the draw is fair.

Anonymous said...

please bring back mr hey you
i think he is more sane...

Anonymous said...

or should i be as polite as him and just call you hendon?

Anonymous said...

The debate has side-tracked. It was Williams blasts Williams but has turned into an ego-massaging marathon from this Almasy character. Self-moderation would be nice.

Anonymous said...

i agree 831

oi, hendon, sort it out.


Anonymous said...

was the official serena had a go at called williams as well?