Saturday 21 April 2018

Snooker: Fu offers Allen season’s greetings despite cheating claim

John Skilbeck

MARCO Fu has promised to send Mark Allen a Christmas card at the end of a year that has seen the Northern Irishman accuse him of cheating.

The genteel Hong Kong player was first picked out by Allen in April, during the World Championship, when he was pinpointed by the man from Antrim as a player he believes to have broken the rules and got away with it. Allen also suggested it might be a trait among Chinese players.

Fu, 34, refutes that and has handled the controversy particularly well, refusing to engage in any war of words.

Allen last week stressed he was not backing down from the comments which cost him a £10,000 fine and a suspended three-month ban.

He risked that ban being imposed when he made pointed comments regarding Fu last Wednesday, the day before his six-month probationary period ran out, as he looked ahead to their first-round match at the UK Championship.

But Allen said last night after losing 6-3 to Fu that he expected to face no charges after holding talks with World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association chairman Jason Ferguson.

Fu was asked whether he would take Allen out for a coffee to discuss their issues, and said: "I'll send him a Christmas card."

He does not believe Allen should be banished from the tour, even for a short period of time.

"No, not at all. Because I don't think he's a racist. Absolutely not," said Fu.

"He just said something in the heat (of the moment). There must be a reason, maybe something I did in the past which makes him think that I cheated but you'd have to ask him which shot he was talking about, but I'm okay at the moment.

"I believe I am a true professional. I'm not going to explain to you how nice a person I am. But time will tell I'm sure, and I'm not upset at all, just very happy that I've got a very good profession."

As for whether Allen's remarks had upset him, Fu said: "Not really, no. But we don't hate each other, we're not going to kill each other tomorrow or anything like that.

"We're not great friends but we're not going to hide from each other.

"Nobody knows or really cares back home.

"I'm really surprised why everyone is taking it so seriously. Mark Allen is a great player; I have a lot of respect for him, but he's not like Jimmy White, Ronnie O'Sullivan, not Steve Davis or (Stephen) Hendry.

"These people are influential, the things they say people listen to them a lot and they can make a difference, but Mark is just another professional and he may be a world champion in the future but he's not yet a legend. People outside snooker might not know who Mark Allen is."

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