Ronnie O'Sullivan called 'disrespectful' for 'condescending' comment to referee at World Snooker Championship

Ronnie O'Sullivan called 'disrespectful' for 'condescending' comment to referee at World Snooker Championship

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Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 02/05/2024

- 11:36

Updated: 02/05/2024

- 12:19

The flashpoint happened when the scores were level at 10-10 in the quarter-final

Ronnie O'Sullivan has received backlash from snooker fans after he told the referee to 'chill' during his loss to Stuart Bingham on Wednesday.

The 48-year-old suffered defeat in his World Snooker Championship quarter-final and one moment from the match caused particular discussion online.

During the 21st frame of the best-of-25 contest, play was briefly paused due to fans entering the arena at the Crucible. Referee Desislava Bozhilova attempted to stop the influx of supporters who were returning to watch the match on the other table between Kyren Wilson and John Higgins.

Ronnie O'Sullivan and referee

Ronnie O'Sullivan has been criticised following a discussion with a referee at the World Snooker Championship


Bozhilova wanted play to resume and told O'Sullivan and Bingham: "They're not going to let anybody in.

"They're all sat down now. We might be waiting 20 minutes, you know what I mean?"

But O'Sullivan was keen to still wait and replied: "It’s not 20 minutes. Just chill, chill."

Bozhilova said "I am chilled" and the crowd laughed at her response as the Rocket walked back to the table.

The clip has since circulated on social media and many fans are not happy with how O'Sullivan spoke to the official.

One wrote on X: "Very condescending and totally disrespectful." While another put: "She was calm it was him who looked like he needed chilling."

A third posted: "I can fully understand the frustration of people walking down the stairs when you’re on an important shot but there was no need for that attitude towards the ref, it seems like he’s holding a grudge against her from earlier lol."

While a fourth put: "Big Ronnie fan but telling a female younger ref to chill when she seemed perfectly calm gave off all the wrong vibes."

Some fans did side with O'Sullivan. One posted: "Sorry but this ref was trying to rush him into taking the shot when there were still tons of the crowd bustling about and coming down the stairs.

"She has no right to put pressure on the players, they can take their time if they want to! Also condescending about the black before."

And another wrote: "lol people blaming Ronnie when the staff can’t do their job. Why’s the ref telling him when to play."

O'Sullivan was not keen to discuss the incident when speaking to the media afterwards.


Ronnie O'Sullivan and referee

Ronnie O'Sullivan told referee Desislava Bozhilova to chill during the World Snooker Championship match


He said: "I won’t be commenting on players or referees, it’s not worth it.

"I’ll keep silent on that sort of stuff. I won’t comment on players and I won’t comment on referees.

"I just leave it as it is. My life’s too good and I don’t need the hassle."

O'Sullivan had earlier shown great sportsmanship in the second session when choosing not to pot a red following a respotted black.

The black rolled closer to the cue ball when it was respotted by Bozhilova and O'Sullivan was praised for not taking the shot on.

Ronnie O'Sullivan and referee

Ronnie O'Sullivan claimed the referees were against him at the World Snooker Championship


But after the session, he claimed some of the officials were against him.

O'Sullivan told Eurosport: "Some of the referees, I think they've got it in for me. So I just want to prove to her that she'd got it wrong.

"Then I didn't feel good about having to pot the ball after that, but I just want to make a point. The point was made.

"I'm not that hungry to win in that way. I'm more of a principled person. So the principle's been made. I can sleep at night."

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