Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan hopes World Snooker does not go too hard on Mark Allen after the former Masters champion conceded his World Grand Prix match against Ali Carter last week.
Allen remarkably conceded the fifth and final frame of his match against Carter, despite still having an opportunity to overcome a 20-2 deficit.
The Northern Irishman is facing possible punishment from World Snooker’s governing body after he passed up the chance to complete a frame he could have still won and O’Sullivan was very understanding of Allen’s surprising behaviour, having acted similarly in the past.
O’Sullivan told Eurosport: “I hadn’t watched it but then I watched it on the clip and I thought it was brilliant. Look at the way he (Allen) shakes his (Carter) hand; everyone is in shock.
“You can just see he had enough and it’s not nice when your in that sort of place but he must have had something going on in his head.”
O’Sullivan famously did the same thing, when he conceded his quarter-final match against Stephen Hendry at the 2006 UK Championships. So when asked whether it’s an instinct or something that gradually builds up, the 43-year-old put it down to a rush of blood.
He said: “It was happening to me, I had problems on and off the table at home and stuff like that, so my head was in the jam jar anyway. I had three or four tournaments before that when I was in front, I was going to shake the opponents’ hands as I just didn’t want to be there.
“Don’t put yourself on the start line unless you’re mentally prepared, because it can look bad I suppose. Sometimes you can play through the pain barrier of whatever it is.”
O’Sullivan the went on to say he hopes World Snooker doesn’t come down too hard on Allen, whom he says has been one of the players of the season.
“I just hope they don’t come down on him too hard because it was just a rush of blood, and if you go back all through the season, he has been one of the players of the season.
“I think we should focus more on that, and give him a little bit of a squeeze, but whether World Snooker do or don’t, they do like to hit you hard, and I will be interested to see what happens there.”
Allen has since taken to social media to apologise for his actions, but given the clear rule that states ‘each member shall perform and compete to the best of his ability in each tournament in which he competes.’ a sanction is likely.