O'Sullivan accused of attack on official

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The Independent Online
Ronnie O'Sullivan's already controversial appearance at the Embassy World Championship descended into further trouble last night when he allegedly attacked a press officer at The Crucible. If a disciplinary inquiry finds against him today he could be thrown out of the tournament.

A statement from the sport's governing body, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, read: "An incident has been reported to Ann Yates, tournament director, concerning an incident involving Ronnie O'Sullivan and a WPBSA official.

"A report has been made of the incident, and pending further consideration of this, the WPBSA has no further comment to make at this time.''

It is understood the incident occurred after O'Sullivan, the third seed, was asked to remove a friend from the press room. An argument ensued and as the 20-year-old from Chigwell, Essex, departed he allegedly physically assaulted the assistant press officer Michael Ganley, son of the snooker referee Len.

The WPBSA disciplinary committee will meet this morning and a further statement is promised later. Six years ago Alex Higgins assaulted a press officer during the world championships but he had already been knocked out of the event. His punishment, albeit with other offences taken into account, was a year's suspension.

The incident follows quickly on O'Sullivan's behaviour after his first- round match last Sunday when he made a verbal attack on his opponent Alain Robidoux after completing one frame playing left handed. Afterwards, he said he had shown Robidoux no respect because "he didn't deserve any".

An inquiry has also been ordered into his comments on that occasion, but that was not due to be held until after the world championships.

Jimmy White, the six-times runner-up, has never changed his tune, it is the reaction to the words that has moved on. He still insists that he will win the the title one day, but every year fewer people believe him. After so many near misses you can hardly blame them.

Indeed it was an indictment of sorts that seasoned observers estimated his performance against Peter Ebdon among his best in a season in which has failed to reach a single semi-final and still finished 5-3 down.

EMBASSY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (Sheffield) Second round: S Davis (Eng) bt T Griffiths (Wal) 13-8; S Hendry (Sco) bt G Wilkinson (Eng) 13-7; D Harold (Eng) bt R Lawler (Eng) 13-6. Resuming today: D Morgan (Wal) leads K Doherty (Rep of Ire) 5-3; P Ebdon (Eng) leads J White (Eng) 5-3.