Ronnie O’Sullivan accuses match referee of ‘looking for trouble’ in world championship final

Ronnie O’Sullivan accuses the match referee of ‘looking for trouble’ in the first session of the World Championship final against Judd Trump after being accused of making a lewd gesture following an unsuccessful attempt to escape from a pool table

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan and referee Olivier Marteel were involved in an angry exchange
  • Marteel appeared to accuse O’Sullivan of making a lewd gesture
  • But ‘The Rocket’ pleaded innocent, insisting on rechecking the footage
  • O’Sullivan later said in an interview that Marteel was “just looking for trouble”

The many sides of Ronnie O’Sullivan were on display in a gripping and explosive first day of the World Snooker Championship final in which he accused referee Olivier Marteel of “looking for trouble”.

Laser focused on leveling Stephen Hendry’s seven Crucible titles, O’Sullivan blew away Judd Trump, holding a 10-5 lead on Sunday night.

But a high-quality contest featured an argument with the Belgian official in the eighth frame, which resulted in a formal warning.

Ronnie O’Sullivan furiously told match referee Olivier Marteel to ‘check the camera’ to prove his innocence after being accused of making a lewd gesture at the Crucible

It’s further proof that O’Sullivan — who was filmed all season for an open-ended documentary — is unparalleled in the entertainment industry.

Imposing and aggressive on the table, he managed two streaks of five consecutive frames. He punished mistakes and won in a single visit, hitting three-century breaks.

Trump initially refused to bow. But O’Sullivan raced out of the blocks in the evening session to open up an intimidating advantage.

The drama on the table happened yesterday afternoon. After asking a security guard to get out of his line of sight, O’Sullivan was 5-2 and cruising. With the last frame of the session in play, O’Sullivan failed to get out of a pool table and returned to his seat. Marteel followed him and accused him of making a move.

O'Sullivan insisted that Marteel

Marteel (pictured in 2018) referees his first world final

O’Sullivan insisted Marteel was ‘just looking for trouble’ in opening session

Pointing at the referee, the six-time world champion replied: ‘Tell me, tell me, what did you see? You tell me what you saw. You haven’t seen anything. Go look at the camera. You haven’t seen anything. Do not start. Marteel approached Trump, who told him he should have waited until after the frame to settle the matter. Trump kept his cool to reduce the backlog to 5-3.

But O’Sullivan, 46, is not done there. After leaving the arena without the usual handshake with the official, he addressed Eurosport from his box.

“He just seems to be looking for trouble, I just get a vibe from the guy,” he said. “They have hundreds of cameras there – they can go and check them all. He’s trying to say… I’ll let the ref talk to you because I think he’s trying to create something. That’s up to him, not me.

The World Snooker Tour issued a statement saying: “Ronnie O’Sullivan has received a formal warning following a move he made in the eighth frame.”

O'Sullivan finished the first session of the final with a 5-3 lead over Judd Trump in Sheffield

O’Sullivan finished the first session of the final with a 5-3 lead over Judd Trump in Sheffield

At press time, no evidence of a gesture had surfaced.

Trump started his third Crucible final winning the first frame with a 72 break, but several long missed pots helped O’Sullivan take a disheartening 5-1 lead. He made two-century breaks of 120 and 105 and was barred from winning the fourth frame, but did so with a cocked hat doubling a pitted black.

Trump started last night clamoring for a confidence-building opener. This quickly eroded as O’Sullivan unleashed the next five frames to continue his dominance, before Trump won his fifth frame.

In this form, it won’t take long for O’Sullivan to finally match Hendry on seven Crucible crowns.

Trump hopes to rob O'Sullivan of his seventh world championship by winning his second

Trump hopes to rob O’Sullivan of his seventh world championship by winning his second


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