Allen issues apology24/04/2012 - 19:51:31
Mark Allen tonight apologised for his outburst against Cao Yupeng and Chinese players as a whole.
The 26-year-old Northern Irishman was fiercely critical of Cao, having claimed the 21-year-old should have called a foul on himself during their first-round match at the Betfred.com World Championship on Sunday.
And Allen, who lost 10-6 to the Crucible debutant, also said in his post-match press conference that “blatant cheating” might be “a bit of a trait for the Chinese players”.
Tonight he issued a statement through his management, which said: “Following my recent comments in the press conference after my first-round defeat to Cao Yupeng, I would like to formally apologise to anyone who may have been offended.
“Having taken some time to reflect on my comments I can appreciate that I overstepped the line at a time when I was heavily influenced by the emotions of a disappointing defeat.
“I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Cao Yupeng if he felt that my comments were insinuating he were a cheat.”
Allen had claimed Cao, who was leading 5-4 at the time, committed a push shot early in the 10th frame. He said he was ``disgusted'' with the behaviour of his opponent in not informing referee Paul Collier.
Television replays of the incident did not clearly show a foul.
Allen’s comments about Chinese players have gone down badly in the nation where snooker is a boom sport, hosting many major tournaments, and where he has already caused offence this season.
He was rebuked by Barry Hearn yesterday, when it was confirmed that Allen has been asked to explain the remarks by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association.
World Snooker chairman Hearn said players found guilty of such offences could face any punishment up to a ban.
Allen’s statement tonight continued: “I stand by my opinion that the shot in question was a foul, but I also stand by my previous comments in the press conference that Cao was the better player and fully deserved to win. I genuinely wish him the best of luck for the rest of the tournament.
“I would also like to apologise to World Snooker. I appreciate the hard work by many people to grow our sport and I am truly horrified to think that my actions could be perceived to be detrimental to this.
“It is fair to say that this season has been one of ups and downs. The highs of winning my first ranking title and finishing runner-up in the UK Championships have been overshadowed by some ill-judged comments from myself.
“I realise that I need to ensure that my off-table behaviour matches the standard and level of professionalism I set for my on-table etiquette. I will return for the 2012-13 season with an improved approach to giving my opinions publicly.”
Antrim man Allen has already been fined four times for controversial remarks this season, including a foul-mouthed dig at Hearn during the UK Championship. He has paid out over €2,500 in fines.
He had caused offence in China before his weekend comments, when branding the island of Hainan – which staged the World Open – as “horrendous” and its people as “ignorant”. Allen went on to win the tournament, for his first ranking title.
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