Ronnie O’Sullivan could be robbed of a seventh World Snooker Championship title if he clashes with referee Olivier Marteel twice more at the Crucible, having received a warning for his unsporting behaviour on day one of the final.
The star, 46, accused Marteel of “looking for trouble” in the first session on Sunday afternoon, getting involved with several heated moments with the Belgian official. After telling the referee to “not start” once he snookered himself in a move that saw O’Sullivan left frustrated with himself, he was cautioned by Marteel.
It was unclear as to what was said between the two, but O’Sullivan was seen pointing at the match official and shouting angrily. Even after taking a 5-3 lead into the interval, O’Sullivan refused to shake hands with Marteel as he left the arena.
And according to journalist Nick Metcalfe, the star will forfeit the game if he repeats the feat twice again. “If Ronnie O’Sullivan receives another warning during this world final, he will forfeit a frame,” Metcalfe tweeted.
“If it happens for a third time, he will forfeit the match.” It would not be the first time that ‘The Rocket’ has suffered controversy in a final throughout his career, having been stripped of the 1998 Irish Masters title for having cannabis in his system.
However, considering he is entering day two needing to win just six frames to become World Champion for a seventh time, it is expected that he will bite his tongue to take home the accolade. His behaviour left opponent Judd Trump bamboozled and in disbelief.
And after admitting the Bristol-born star will be a “tough nut to crack” in the final, O’Sullivan said he will need a detox once the final against Trump comes to a conclusion on Monday. “Judd’s going to be a tough nut to crack,” O’Sullivan said.