Northern Irishman Mark Allen has been warned he could face a ban after alleging that Chinese snooker players are guilty of "blatant cheating".
Allen told a news conference after losing to China's Cao Yupeng in the first round of the world snooker championship on Sunday his opponent should have called a foul against himself at a crucial point in the match.
Northern Ireland's Mark Allen gestures as he loses his first round during the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible Theater, Sheffield, April 22, 2012. [Photo/CFP]
"It seems to be a bit of a trait for the Chinese players because there have been instances in the past of fouls and blatant cheating going on," he said.
Responding to the comments, World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn urged the disciplinary committee of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) to discipline Allen.
"Everywhere we go, these players are ambassadors of snooker," Hearn said. "They're chaperones of the image of the game in major expanding markets and there's no doubt China is that, big time.
"They have to bear the responsibility of those comments and the potential loss to the game in general and the desire for the rest of the players to earn a living playing their chosen sport.
"We have the powers to do anything providing we've acted reasonably. It's a fine, a potential suspension, or a ban."
Allen, who was recently fined 1,000 pounds ($1,600) for comments made at the Haikou World Open last month, has been advised by the WPBSA that they will be writing to him to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said: "The WPBSA is responsible for the governance of snooker worldwide and takes very seriously comments made which could be perceived to be directed at a particular nation."
China's Cao Yupeng smiles after winning his first round during the Betfred.com World Snooker Championships at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, April 22, 2012. [Photo/CFP]