Ronnie O’Sullivan’s most controversial moments – including ban for assaulting press officer

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Ronnie O’Sullivan won the Snooker World Championship for his seventh time last week.

The ‘Rocket’ claimed his championship title with an 18-13 win over Judd Trump. The 46-year-old now holds the record as the oldest Crucible championship winner.

But his triumph in the final came alongside some controversy as O’Sullivan received an official warning from the referee, Olivier Marteel, for making a gesture during the eighth frame of the final.

He denied the offence, telling Eurosport: "I just think he (Marteel) seems to be looking for trouble. I just get that vibe from the guy.

O’Sullivan’s clash with the referee during the final isn’t the first time the snooker star has made headlines for his behaviour.

Ronnie is well known for a string of controversies throughout his career, we’ve taken a look back on some of his most controversial moments to date.

Assaulting a press officer at the 1996 Embassy World Championships

English professional snooker player Ronnie O'Sullivan pictured with a concerned look on his face during competition against fellow English snooker player Peter Ebdon in the semifinals of the 1996 Embassy World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England on 4th May 1996. Peter Ebdon would go on to win the match 16-14 to progress to meet Stephen Hendry in the final. (Photo by Chris Smith/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)
Ronnie O'Sullivan assaulted a press officer during the 1996 World Snooker Championship

One of O’Sullivan’s most notable controversial moments was when he assaulted a press officer during the 1996 Embassy World Championships.

It was alleged that the then 20-year-old snooker player physically assaulted the assistant press officer, Michael Ganley, after he was asked to remove a friend from the press room and an argument took place.

He admitted his involvement in the assault and was subsequently given a £30,000 fine and a two-year suspended ban.

Shortly before this, O’Sullivan also caused controversy after he played one frame left-handed against opponent Alain Robidoux.

Removing his shoes at the 2015 Betfred World Championships

Ronnie O'Sullivan in action during day five of the Betfred World Championships at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday April 21, 2015. See PA story SNOOKER World. Photo credit should read: Nigel French/PA Wire
O'Sullivan attempted to play in his socks during the Betfred World Championships in 2015

One of the most amusing of his controversial incidents came during the 2015 Betfred World Championships.

Ronnie had a 4-2 lead over his opponent Craig Steadman when he complained that his shoes were hurting and promptly took them off.

He was told that he could not continue to play in his socks as he was in breach of the Crucible dress code.

"Has anyone got a size eight or nine?" he asked the crowd.

Fortunately, he was allowed to continue playing after tournament director Mike Ganley supplied him with some new shoes.

Walking out of the 2006 Maplin Championship

Ronnie O'Sullivan reacts after his shot during the second round match against Ryan Day in the World Championship at The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday April 24, 2006. Photo credit should read: Alistair Wilson/PA.
The snooker champion decided to walk out of the 2006 Championship

During the 2006 World Championship O’Sullivan simply decided he’d had enough and walked out of the event.

The player was down 4-1 in frames against Stephen Hendry when he confused fans by inexplicably deciding to concede the match.

He shook hands with both Hendry and the referee before walking out of the arena.

Reflecting on the walkout in 2020 O’Sullivan said: "I just was out there playing Hendry and thought "I'm not going to win this match, I'm not feeling it, I don't want to be here, I just want to get out of here," I shook his hand and off I went.

"I just wasn't in the right frame of mind at all. There was a lot of stuff going on in my head that was upsetting really. That could have happened three of four matches before Hendry."

Inappropriate comments during the 2008 China Open

Video Grab/Kent News & Pictures Ltd/(01622) 755133. Internet grab. Youtube. Snooker bad boy Ronnie O'Sullivan 32 stunned Beijing reporters with a foul mouthed tirade live on camera at a press conference following the China Open on Wednesday (26th March 2008)
The snooker player was caught making lewd comments during the 2008 Open in China

During a press conference following his exit from the 2008 China Open, O’Sullivan was caught making a number of inappropriate and lewd comments while his questions and answers were being translated.

In defence of the incident, he said that he didn’t know that cameras were running or that his microphone was on.

As a result, he was ordered to pay back his prize money from the event and was also docked 700 ranking points.

This post appeared first on Daily Star - Snooker.

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