Friday 23 June 2017

Ronnie O'Sullivan reported after failing to fulfil media duties at Crucible

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan

Mark Staniforth

Ronnie O'Sullivan faces disciplinary action from snooker's world governing body after refusing to fulfil media duties following his World Championship win over David Gilbert on Monday.

The five-times champion skipped the obligatory post-match press conference after his 10-7 first-round victory, breaching part of the contract all tour players are required to sign.

Assuming he is found guilty by a World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) disciplinary panel, O'Sullivan is likely to receive a relatively small fine before his next appearance, which is scheduled for Saturday.

O'Sullivan's decision, which was relayed to the waiting media by a WPBSA official, came as a surprise given the relatively serene nature of his progress into the last 16.

Although he never quite hit top form against his gutsy opponent, he hit breaks of 101 and 72 as he transformed a 6-3 overnight lead into his three-frame victory.

Gilbert had started well, with breaks of 60 and 62 to win the opening frame of the day, before O'Sullivan responded by restoring his overnight cushion.

O'Sullivan's quick century put him 8-4 ahead but Gilbert responded by closing the gap to two, taking the next then stealing the 14th frame with a 61 clearance to pink.

After the pair shared the next two frames, O'Sullivan rounded off his victory with a break of 72.

O'Sullivan had showed no sign of any issues with the media in the build-up to the tournament, having participated fully in a pre-arranged preview day.

Gilbert paid tribute to his opponent, saying: "That is probably the best I'll ever play without winning a game of snooker.

"It was an honour to play the legend that is Ronnie O'Sullivan. I know he wasn't quite on top of his game but I feel like I learned a lot and I've got nothing to be disgraced about.

"There's not a lot you can worry about when you play against Ronnie because you just expect to get punished every time something doesn't go your way."

Also in the morning session, John Higgins set a blistering pace against qualifier Ryan Day, hitting three centuries on his way to establishing a 7-2 lead with their match due to resume on Tuesday afternoon.

World Snooker issued a statement regarding O'Sullivan's non-appearance in front of the media, confirming he will face disciplinary procedures.

It read: "All players have a responsibility to the sport, and in particular to their fans. This includes fulfilling media obligations at events. Any players found to be in breach of these rules will be referred to the disciplinary process."

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