Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Give Allen a break

Mark Allen may be the talk of the town after being hit by an £11,000 fine - but it's time to let his snooker do the talking again.

Picture by Monique Limbos
The controversial Northern Ireland star learned his fate yesterday after potentially libellous comments against Cao Yupeng and other Chinese players landed him in hot water following his exit from the World Championship earlier this year.

He was ordered to pay a £10,000 fine plus £1,000 in costs by the WPBSA, and summoned to attend a media training course after accusing his opponent Cao and other Chinese players of being cheats.
Allen also knows that one more step out of line in the next six months will automatically lead to a three-month ban from the sport.

In my opinion, these are fair and justified punishments for Allen, who stepped way out of line with these distasteful, ill-timed and unfair comments.

While Allen understandably has his critics, I would hate to see his card indefinitely marked by snooker fans.

Allen should be man enough to take his punishment on the chin and deserves a fresh chance. It's time to start judging this great young talent for what he does on the table. In the past six months, he's reached the final of the UK Championship and won his maiden ranking title at the World Open.

This is only the start of the success for such a fantastically entertaining and capable player.

If he's judged solely on his ability, you wouldn't find many critics but it's his comments off the baize that have lost him some friends. With the start of his season imminent and disciplinary hearings concluded, now seems like a perfect time to bury the hatchet and give him a fresh start.

I hope flirting with the snooker authorities doesn't lead to Allen becoming a complete snooze in press conferences. It's important he thinks more before he speaks, but I also hope this doesn't mean the end of a player who is confident enough to speak his mind.

As long as he understands where the line is and doesn't cross it, it's quite refreshing to see someone with a bit of character.

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