Following yesterday’s incident in the Allen v Hickx match, the WPBSA Rules Committee has published this statement:
Statement by the WPBSA Rules Committee on the incident during the Mark Allen – Andy Hicks match at the 19.com Scottish Open on December 10, 2019.
Multiple Rules were involved in the incident; Section 3 Rule 10 (Fouls) states that “If a foul is committed, the referee shall immediately call FOUL.”
Under paragraph (c) it states that “If a foul is neither awarded by the referee, nor successfully claimed by the non-striker before the next stroke is made, it is condoned.”
Paragraph (i) states: “If a striker fouls any ball including the cue-ball prior to striking it, the appropriate penalty will be imposed.”
According to these Rules, it could be assumed that once the stroke was made, the feathering of the cue-ball is condoned, and no further action must be taken.
However, the Rule was not made for situations like these. Let’s be honest, if striking the cue-ball directly after feathering will condone the infringement then it may become common practice because there simply may not be enough time for the referee, or the non-striker, to react.
Therefore, Section 5 (The Officials) of the Rulebook comes into operation.
Rule 1 (The Referee) paragraph (a)(i) states that the referee shall “make decisions in the interest of fair play for any situations not covered adequately by these Rules.”
Paragraph (c) states: “If the referee has failed to notice any incident, they may at their discretion take the evidence of the marker……or, if available, they may view a camera/video recording of the incident to assist their decision.”
Rule 2 (The Marker) states that “the marker shall……assist the referee in carrying out their duties.”
The marker was made aware, through his headset, by the broadcaster that an incident had occurred and therefore made the decision to notify the referee before the incoming player played his next stroke. The referee then stopped play to review the incident and felt that, in the interest of fair play, the feathering of the cue-ball was part of the striker’s action to execute the stroke and therefore made the decision to penalise the striker for the infringement. The referee then decided that the incoming player had the usual options after a foul.
The WPBSA Rules Committee has decided that the whole incident was correctly handled by both the referee and the marker.
The Committee would also like to stress that in no way, shape or form it was assumed that the action of the striker was wilfully unfair. It was just an unfortunate incident that required a Ruling based on fair play.
No further statements on the matter will be made.
This is a very clear and useful explanation about the situation and the rationale behind the way it was dealt with. As a fan of the sport, I really appreciate the Committte’s efforts to clarify the rules involved and the solution that was found by the referees in order to be fair to both players. Thank you.