World Snooker chairman responds to Ronnie O'Sullivan's claims that he is being "bullied"

World Snooker Championship - Day One

The ever outspoken Ronnie O'Sullivan yet again made headlines during the second day of the Betfred World Championship in Sheffield thanks to his controversial post-match comments rather than his snooker skills.

O'Sullivan followed his successful 10-7 first round win over Gary Wilson in the tournament by stating that he had been upset by a letter received from World Snooker disciplinary officials relating to his criticism of referee Terry Camilleri and his expletive outburst towards a press photographer back in January during the Masters. 

O'Sullivan claimed that the World Snooker authorities were attempting to bully and intimidate him and that he was not going to stand for it, referring to World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn directly on several occasions.

"I phoned Barry up four weeks ago and I said, 'Look Barry, I'm done with all you and your board of people'," O'Sullivan said.

"And I've got a very good friend of mine who said, 'Just let my lawyers deal with it'. I won't get involved with it because I'm not being bullied, I'm not having people doing that to me ever again.

"I like Barry but I'm not being intimidated or bullied any more."

"I've given 25 years of service to this game and I think I've given enough. Drop me out, I don't need you, you probably don't need me."

"I've had it for five, six, seven years, and I'm just done with it."

O'Sullivan then went on to say how much he still loved the sport but also bizarrely brought up the subject of a career switch from the snooker hall to reality television, adding that: "It's not that important. 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.

World Snooker Championship - Media Day

"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."

O'Sullivan has had many run-ins with World Snooker throughout his prestigious career, threatening retirement on several occasions and criticising the way things were being carried out with Hearn describing the 41-year old's most recent claims as "unfounded" and "inaccurate".

Speaking in an official statement regarding O'Sullivan's post-match comments at the World Championships, Hearn said: "I personally take any accusation of 'bullying and intimidation' by me or World Snooker very seriously."

World Snooker Championship - Media Day

"Unfounded accusations such as these are damaging to World Snooker's global reputation, as well as my own, and we will take whatever action is required to protect this reputation from such inaccurate comments.

"I hope all parties can move on from this position and concentrate on the brilliant entertainment provided by players at the Betfred World Championship."

What do you make of O'Sullivan's comments? Have YOUR say in the comments below.

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