Snooker controversy as Yan Bingtao breaks “unwritten rule” during Mark Selby win

Yan ended the title defense of reigning world champion Selby at the Crucible, but the match wasn’t without its controversies

Yan Bingtao was accused of breaking an ‘unwritten rule’ of snooker against Mark Selby

Snooker star Yan Bingtao has been slammed for breaking an “unwritten rule” of the sport on the way to victory over Mark Selby.

The Chinese potter overcame the Jester from Leicester to win 13-10 after a marathon final session which produced the longest frame in Crucible history. The pair battled for 85 minutes and 22 seconds before Yan eventually ended he stand-off, eventually going on to seal the tie.

But despite an impressive victory over Selby, the 22-year-old was criticized by former professionals for breaking an “unwritten rule”. Jimmy White and Alan McManus were less than impressed when Yan seemed to struggle with a tricky shot before asking the referee for the ball to be cleaned.

“Bingtao has looked at this shot for over a minute and he’s not sure if he can pot it or not,” the Whirlwind said in his role as a World Snooker Championship pundit for Eurosport. “He keeps getting down to pot it and then he asks Rob Spencer (the referee) whether he can clean the cue ball.

“Now that is an unwritten rule amongst professional snooker players. Fair play to [referee] Rob Spencer for saying ‘No, I’m not going to clean the cue ball’ in this situation because he could put that cue ball back slightly wrong and then Bingtao can have an easy shot at this brown. But as it turns out he could pot the brown.

“It is something you don’t do. It might have been Bingtao being under pressure and thinking of anything to win, but you don’t do that in snooker.” McManus agreed with White’s assessment, though he did call for the Chinese player to be given the benefit of the doubt on this occasion

Yan Bingtao won the match to dump Mark Selby out of the World Snooker Championship



“We don’t know what was in Yan’s mind, as to how underhand he was thinking,” the Scot added. “I don’t like seeing it, Mark Selby did not like seeing it and most of the players on tour would be the same. It’s not something we encourage. We actually encourage the opposite.

“The referee won’t be hoodwinked there anyway because Rob Spencer is a brilliant referee. Yan’s young and he’s not from these shores. Maybe someone could take him aside and say “You’ve tried to pull a fast one there” but in future you don’t do that.”

Yan was not asked about the incident on TV coverage, but said he had been joking when later confronted about it. No doubt a close eye will be kept on his behavior when he faces three-time world champion Mark Williams in the quarter-finals.

Watch complete live coverage of the Snooker World Championships across discovery+, Eurosport and Eurosport app.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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