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Ronnie O’Sullivan argues with referee and makes bold claims about officials in Crucible defeat

Ronnie O’Sullivan insisted he is being treated unfairly by referees after arguing with the referee during his World Snooker Championship defeat.

O’Sullivan crashed out of the Crucible to lose 13–10 to Stuart Bingham, but the match was marred by two incidents where ‘Rocket’ got into an argument with the referee.

O’Sullivan protested to the referee after having trouble spotting the black ball againCredit: Getty

The first came when the former world champion was 6-5 up against Bingham and had just pocketed the black as he chased down his opponent making the score 43-29 in the 12th frame.

But when referee Desislava Bozhilova tried to put the black back on the table, the spot was marked and the ball did not stay in the correct position.

It prompted some protests from O’Sullivan, who complained that the ball was not in the right place before hitting a safety shot in what was described as ‘one of the greatest pieces of sportsmanship ever’ as Bingham took over the frame.

Another bizarre moment occurred during the evening session when O’Sullivan stopped playing as fans poured into the Crucible, causing the Wordsley-born star to lose his cool.

He sat down while complaining to the referee, who led the people back to their seats from her position next to the table.

After the door closed and fans stopped coming in, O’Sullivan was clearly unhappy when the referee spoke to him, to which he responded by gesturing with his hand for her to ‘chill’.

Bozhilova handled the situation well and replied: “I’m cold.”

Before the evening session started, O’Sullivan was interviewed about the first incident involving the black ball and stressed that the referees were treating him unfairly.

O’Sullivan insisted the referees wanted to catch him after the incidentCredit: Getty
O’Sullivan told referee to ‘chill’ after complaining about people coming through the Crucible doorCredit: Eurosport/BBC

“I think some referees are targeting me, so I wanted to prove her wrong,” the seven-time world champion told Eurosport.

“Then I didn’t feel good about having to pot the ball afterwards. I just wanted to make the point and the point was made.

“I’m not that hungry to win that way. I’m more of a principle person, so once the principle is established, I can sleep at night.”

Although O’Sullivan was praised for his sportsmanship, he also received criticism from fans on social media for his public berating of the referee during the match.

O’Sullivan was praised for his sportsmanship at the timeCredit: Getty

Bozhilova had to deal with a difficult situation by putting the black ball on the spot, which had clearly caused problems during the course of the match.

The referee even told O’Sullivan she was happy to spot the ball again after the 48-year-old made a request.

Commenting on the incident, 2010 world champion Neil Robertson said: ‘He played it safe even though he could pot the red. It is unbelievable.

“This is probably one of the greatest acts of sportsmanship I have ever seen in any sport. That’s incredible.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before.”