Ronnie O'Sullivan has launched stunning allegations of bullying against World Snooker's hierarchy and in particular, Barry Hearn.
The declaration came after a 10-7 victory against Wallsend's Gary Wilson in the first round of the World Championship.
The Rocket, familiar with controversy both on and off the table, is quoted by the Guardian as saying: "I won’t get involved with it because I’m not being bullied, I’m not having people doing that to me ever again."
Though he went on to express his like for Hearn, who refused to comment on the matter, these scathing remarks illustrate O'Sullivan's discontent for the politics surrounding the sport and its affect on him both personally and professionally.
O'Sullivan's fortunes have not been in his favour recently; he hasn't won back-to-back matches since his Masters victory at Alexandra Palace.
He cited World Snooker as the reason for these underwhelming performances: “I couldn’t win a match really and I thought that it’s not fair on the fans, it’s not fair on the people who have invested in me and I don’t really think I’ve done a lot wrong.”
This statement related to the aforementioned Masters tournament where Ronnie openly condemned the performance of match referee Terry Camilleri during his semi-final win against Marco Fu, as well as producing a foul-mouthed criticism of a press photographer.
O'Sullivan was not punished for these comments, though it is clear that played on his mind in the build up to this coveted tournament.
O'Sullivan: I won't let people bully me
Later in the post-match press conference, O'Sullivan went on to profess his fondness for the sport and wanting to continue without further altercations.
"This is something I do for love but I’m not going to do it and have people trying to intimidate me and bully me," he continued.
It seems the seasoned professional wants his snooker to do the talking, although allegations of bullying will surely be taken incredibly seriously by the powers that be. Given the recent issues surrounding the British cycling team, one would suggest that we haven't heard the last on this matter.
O'Sullivan thinking of life after snooker
Should O'Sullivan decide to put the cue to one side, he has clearly earmarked a future outside the game:
"I could go and do Big Brother, I could go and do I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here, I could have a great life doing other stuff," the snooker legend added.
Snooker's most controversial and arguably more naturally talented player clearly sees a life beyond his beloved profession.
It might well be that his career in reality television will start sooner, rather than later.
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