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‘You can’t do that!’ – Controversy at ‘VAR’ decision in Mark Allen win

‘You can’t do that!’ – Controversy at ‘VAR’ decision in Mark Allen win

09/12/2019 at 19:13

Technology intervened during Mark Allen’s clash with Andy Hicks at the Scottish Open.


Mark Allen came back from a two-frame deficit to beat Andy Hicks 4-2 at the Scottish Open... but only after there was a bizarre VAR-style incident.

The odd moment occurred midway through the second frame when the Pistol, hampered by the jaws of the middle pocket, feathered the white ball as he attempted to roll the blue to the opposite middle pocket.

Initially, referee Leo Scullion missed the incident but after being prompted by marker Marcel Eckhart, he reviewed the footage before awarding Hicks five penalty points.

Hicks, the world number 143, needed two visits but eventually took the frame. It would be his last.

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The Eurosport commentary box insisted Allen was not to blame, with Alan McManus questioning the decision to belatedly award a foul.

Alan McManus: "Mark wouldn’t have felt it but I think he did touch the cue ball."

Phil Studd: "He inadvertently cued the white before he actually did; there is no way Allen would have known of that because he would be the first to hold his hand up. But in the event he has missed the blue anyway. I think the marker Marcel Eckhart is going to bring that Leo Scullion’s attention."

Alan McManus (after the referee had reviewed the incident): "It is all after the event, you can’t put the cue ball back to the middle pocket so… you can’t call a foul now because he has played a foul. What are you going to do? Call a foul after a shot has been played? Doesn’t make any sense to me!

"He has effectively played a shot after a foul and then a foul has been retrospectively called. You can’t do that!"


Mark Allen in the Eurosport studio post-match: "I had no idea. Ideally if I had been called on a foul I wanted to leave the cue ball on the jaws.

"I didn’t really know why they had stopped play… I had never seen that happen before but at least the right decision came of it!"

Alan McManus: "The sequence of events went as follows: myself and Phil saw in commentary and then Marcel Eckhart, whose wired up, he heard us mention ‘oh there’s a foul’, so he has then put his hand up and brought it to Leo’s attention, who has come over and then said: ‘oh, there was a foul’ but this was after Mark has missed the blue. So, really he has called a foul retrospectively, which you can’t do.”

Jimmy White: "We are all very proud in out sport that we declare our fouls – very rarely do you see someone pull a stroke or try to cheat. But when you are on a leather pocket sometimes you can touch it without knowing it, you know? Sometimes it feels different."