Mark Allen is facing the possibility of a three-month suspension after refusing to back down from his claim that fellow snooker star Marco Fu has been culpable of cheating.
Allen and Fu were this evening set to go head to head in the first round of the williamhill.com UK Championship at York’s Barbican Centre.
Following his first-round defeat to Cao Yupeng at the World Championship in April, Northern Irishman Allen accused his conqueror that day of playing a banned push shot, and also named Hong Kong player Fu as a player he believed to have broken the rules in the past.
The 26-year-old stood by that position in an interview ahead of the UK Championship, and subsequently has been asked to explain himself by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association.
The WPBSA have written to Allen, who was served with a three-month ban, suspended for six months, for his comments at the Crucible which concerned Cao, Fu and Chinese players in general.
Fu has denied ever cheating, and has never been found guilty of any offence.
A World Snooker spokesman confirmed today that Allen was facing a fresh investigation, as his comments concerning Fu came a day before his six-month probation period was due to expire.
The spokesman said: “His comments have been looked at and he has been asked to explain what he said.”
When asked last Wednesday about his “cheating” claims, Allen said: “It was a comment that I still stand by.
“I’d never said anything about Marco as a person. Marco as a person is one of the nicest people you’d ever meet.
“Obviously people make mistakes on the table. But aside from that, Marco is a great snooker player.”
Allen had to swallow a €12,000 fine as well as the suspended ban for his allegations that cheating had been going on, and was also punished for comments last season which were critical of World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn and Chinese people and their customs.
He was ordered to take instruction on how to deal with the media, and has been advised in that respect by World Snooker’s press officer.
Allen has also been told by his manager, Paul Mount, to call him before going into any post-match press conference.
The Antrim man, however, came to York saying that he was ready, with his suspended ban lifted by the start of the tournament, to deliver hard-hitting views again.
Allen told Press Association Sport on Wednesday: “There’s been a few things happen in the last six months that I’d love to say things about but I’m scared that if I word them wrongly I’d get suspended for three months and that’s the last thing I’d want.
“But once this ban comes up I’ve definitely got a few things to say.”
Left-hander Allen is one of the most exciting players on the snooker tour and the sport’s rule-makers would be reluctant to lose him for a three-month stretch, with the Masters among the tournaments he would miss were a ban to be imposed in the near future.