Allen cries foul after defeat in Sheffield


Snooker:Mark Allen called into question the behaviour of Cao Yupeng after the Chinese player caused a stunning upset today at the World Championship at The Crucible in Sheffield today.

Northern Irishman Allen lost 10-6 to the world number 81, and admitted he was “completely outplayed”. But the outspoken 26-year-old suggested at his post-match press conference that Cao should have called a foul on himself during the opening frame of today’s concluding session, at a time when the match was finely poised with Allen just 5-4 behind.

He said the incident came when Cao was on a break of eight, which became a break of 33. Cao denied any knowledge of the incident.

Allen said: “I thought the big turning point in the match was at 5-4 when he was in the balls and Paul Collier, the referee, missed a blatant push. It was quite obvious to me and anyone who was watching at home would have been able to see it no problem.”

Players are expected to call fouls which are not spotted by referees, and there was an instance last night when Liang Wenbo did so in the deciding frame of his match against Stephen Hendry.

Allen felt he was denied what should have been a chance to come to the table and make a substantial break himself.

“It was a big stage of the match,” Allen said. “If the referee rightfully called a foul there I’d have had a chance of going to 5-5 and the match would have been different but he went on to pull away.

“It seems to be a bit of a trait for the Chinese players because there’ve been instances in the past, of fouls and blatant cheating going on. It needs to be corrected. He’s a good enough player and he doesn’t have to do that.

“He looked at the referee as soon as he did it, as if to say, ‘Are you not calling a foul here?’.

“I looked at Paul and I looked at Michaela (Tabb) who was marking the match, and I spoke to (Terry) Griffiths (his coach) at the interval. He was commentating on the match.

“I was pretty confident at the time it was a foul, and he pretty much confirmed it to me at the interval. It’s very, very sad the state of snooker if it has to be down to that, but it’s not the first time.

“I’m disgusted that it happened. It shouldn’t happen in professional sport. Cao looked at the referee too so I’m very confident on where I stand on that.”

Allen went on to name two players from the Far East who he claimed had cheated in the past.

Cao, only 21, picks up double his previous career winnings for reaching the second round after bridging a gap of 70 world ranking places to beat the current World Open champion, who is ranked number 11.

He potted the red he was playing in the incident where Allen alleged he committed a foul.

While commentating on the match for the BBC, Griffiths had remarked on the incident.

“I think he fouled that,” Griffiths said in the live commentary. “I think he hit the white twice.”

Cao was asked in his press conference if he remembered the incident, but replied through a translator: “No.”

He said: “I was just focusing on playing. I didn’t realise if I had fouled. If I fouled, I say sorry. If I didn’t foul, and Mark said that, then I would feel very upset and angry.”

The comments from Allen followed a dramatic end to the match, when the man from Co Antrim looked to have trimmed Cao’s lead to 9-7.

Cao was 5-4 overnight following breaks of 70, 69 and 51, and a pair of classy centuries today steered him to the brink of a place in the last 16 at 9-5.

Allen responded with 101 to close the gap, and looked to have made it 9-7 when he cleared from blue to black.

There was a wicked twist though. As Allen roared his delight at potting an apparent frame ball, he had not spotted the white heading to a top corner pocket, and when it dropped the victory was Cao’s.

Allen blamed the table, suggesting the white ball took a heavy bounce of a cushion and then turned in towards the pocket.

A World Snooker spokesman confirmed the comments from Allen would be examined by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association.

Allen has caused major controversy twice previously this season. He was fiercely critical of World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn during the UK Championship, and then during the World Open he wrote on Twitter that the Chinese island of Hainan, which staged the event, was “horrendous” and the people were “ignorant”.

He was fined for the Hearn outburst, and his Hainan comments are still being assessed.

On the other table this afternoon, the 2005 champion Shaun Murphy gained a 5-4 lead over Jamie Jones of Wales, who like Cao is making his World Championship debut.

The highlights came in the final two frames, as Jones made 134 to draw level before Murphy followed up with a 102 break.

Earlier, David Gilbert beat Martin Gould 10-8 in an all-English clash, while 17-year-old Belgian Luca Brecel, the youngest player in the history of the tournament, made a debut century but fell 6-3 behind to Scotland’s Stephen Maguire.