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Ali Carter on controversy: “I’m absolutely flabbergasted”

Ali Carter has reacted to a bizarre incident during his 6-3 defeat of John Higgins in the Masters quarter-finals on Thursday.

The “Captain”, making his twelfth appearance in the prestigious invitational event, reached the semi-finals in London for the first time in his career with a hard-fought victory over the Scot.

However, there was a huge talking point late in the game when the tie was still delicately poised and likely to go either way.

Leading 4-3 and midway through a vital eighth frame, Carter attempted a straightforward safety on the yellow.

Referee Desislava Bozhilova called a foul and a miss only for the Englishman to immediately insist that he had connected with the object ball.

The decision was reversed and the players continued, but replays confirmed that Carter had indeed missed the yellow and the foul should have stood.

In commentary for the BBC, John Virgo was particularly incensed, saying: “I don’t care, if the referee says he didn’t hit it, then he didn’t it. (She) should be stronger.”

It is debatable whether or not the incident had a significant influence on the outcome of the frame.

As it was, Carter won it to move 5-3 in front before sealing his place in the last four with a break of 72 – his only contribution above 50.

In his post-match press conference, Carter said: “If I haven’t hit that then I’m absolutely flabbergasted because I don’t know what’s happened there.”

“I was playing it full ball, the white’s going up the table, and it’s turned…anyone would tell you that I’d never try and gain an advantage doing that. That’s unbelievable.”

Carter, ranked 17th in the world rankings, only received an invite after Ronnie O’Sullivan’s decision to not enter this year’s edition.

The 40 year-old will meet Shaun Murphy in the next round after the 2015 champion beat Joe Perry by the same scoreline.

Stephen Maguire faces David Gilbert and Stuart Bingham entertains Kyren Wilson in the remaining two quarter-final fixtures on Friday.

Live coverage continues on the BBC and Eurosport.

Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)


  1. Ali Carter can be as flabbergasted as he likes. The fact is he missed the yellow. He then insisted he had hit it. Should be defaulted.

  2. Thanks for the comment. But use of bad language is not prohibited.

  3. Michael Henry

    Absolutely appalled by Carter and his blatant abuse of the referee. How can he stand in front of the media and say he saw the cueball touch the yellow? This is where we need a WST official viewing each match to be a second set of eyes for situations like this. He should be stricken from future invitational tournaments. He has a poor history of disrespect to fellow players and referees. I hope whoever he gets in the semi finals never allows him off his chair. Cant stand players who will have a tantrum during play because they made the mistake and won’t take the Foul. WST has to do something about his outbursts. He doesn’t put fans in the seats or bring TV viewers like Higgins or the rest of the Top 16 so be lucky you’re on the Tour.

  4. James Walkden

    i play in a very small league, 24 teams 2 divisions, when i referee in piddly little games on the few occasions a player may have disagreed with a decision my answer was always the same, i`m the referee you are the player, play on, simples. Never mind in the quarter final of the Masters. An inexperrienced referee lacking in confidence, which this one obviously was, should not be refereeing in a major tounament. With T.V. replays the decision of the ref should have been upheld. The pivotal frame result could have made the world of difference to the outcome of the match. Carter is a cheat i.m.h.o. he could not have seen any contact as there was none. B.T.W. I am not a Higgins fan just a fan of honesty, integrity and fair play.

    • Sharon Greaves

      Made me so angry watching the rest of that match!

    • Stephen Stubbs

      I know he’s had health problems over the years but he really is a spiteful, petty little oik. I rather hope he doesn’t progress further in this competition as its undeserved.

    • Gillian Dacey

      I agree 100%! And then John Higgins had to try and sort out his incorrect score! That wouldn’t have done his concentration any good. This needs to be sorted, unlike Ali, John is too much of a gentlemen to make a fuss.

      • I quite agree Gillian that John is too much of a gentleman to make a fuss.

        • A gentleman who was banned from the game for accepting bribes

        • Use the video to put all the balls back in the correct position that they were in AFTER he had fouled, put the scores back to how they were and continue the match from that point onwards, Higgins could easily have won that frame and so he could have gone on to win and progress.
          What an absolute farce, and if Carter had an ounce of decency he would forfeit the end result and get a little respect back

  5. Sharon Greaves

    I actually wanted him to win before that incident but was livid afterwards and really don’t want him to win anything now. I couldn’t believe the ref just believed him and the decision to overturn the foul could have affected the outcome of the frame and consequently the match!!! How, for goodness sake, in this day and age?!?!

  6. Clare Webley-Emmerson

    So why exactly do we have referees if the players can overturn their decisions?
    Ali, you were wrong. You never touched that ball, and as a professional you know you didn’t.
    So the Masters has a fancy restaurant for players and family that World Snooker has paid an absolute fortune for no doubt, but can’t equip the tables with the correct technology in order to play a game of snooker. Madness


      Ali Carter is a disgrace to the snooker game not alone that if u have to cheat to win it shows how shit he is . Ass hole

  7. What everyone is saying is correct: that incident could have had decisive effect on the result. It is possible that that frame would have gone to Higgins and, from there, who’s to say what would have happened?
    There should be another chance for Higgins. Maybe they should play best of three. But leaving the result as it is leaves a sour taste.

  8. Totally unbelievable that Ali Carter got away with actually overturning a referees decision when Ben Williams actually saw him miss on his monitor! If Ali does not want to be haunted for ever by this incident he needs to do something more than offer disbelief.

  9. Pingback: Ali Carter on controversy: "I'm absolutely flabbergasted" | Sports 365

  10. Alan Purcell

    The whole thing is absolutely sickening. I hope that referee enjoyed that match cos it’ll be her last in any meaningful tournament. Absolute disgrace. She was immediate with her decision, he was embarrassed cos he missed the ball and said he hit it? I wasn’t even there and I could tell he missed it straight away. He should forfeit his place. It’s disgusting.

  11. Gary Rundle

    I agree with all the comments …so I won’t add another similar comment….
    But want to add…
    If that was me playing and to me it looked like I hit it….but then the ref says no (foul)….i would except it or I would want it to be played back by second ref for my peace of mind….would not of wanted to continue without it.
    Ali was happy to continue….very strange in my opinion

  12. James Osborne

    I feel Ali Carter has done himself a lot of harm, he should offer some of his prize money to a charity of John’s choice. And he needs to buy the referee done flowers or something as an apology.

  13. Forget the referee. the second ref saw it miss on the monitor didn’t say anything. As for Carter he’s a cheat. Bring in VAR.

  14. He doesnt deserve to be where he is ….an angry little man/boy with a little man attitude

  15. J P McDonald

    So there are a few points here…
    1. He missed
    2. He thought he hit it..
    3. The ref called foul, and he questioned it..
    4. She (the ref) should not have changed her mind without consulting and being sure with the tv ref.
    5. The tv ref said he has no replays (as per the opinion of the commentators)

    So firstly: if the tv ref and and the match ref can confer during the match with regards to the positioning of the balls after ‘a miss’.. then why not when a foul is questioned by a player?
    I doubt if either Ali Carter or the ref have done themselves any favours after that fiasco..
    Can you imagine if a player of another sport tried something similar during a match?? football for example?? @riot @arrests @major incident.. Sort it out Mr. Hearn..

  16. John Spencer

    Unfortunately I think Ali Carter knew he had missed. He turned away instantly as he gave his “I hit it”

    The easy and probably only answer for him was to forfeit the frame.

    Bad style.

  17. Martin Gardner

    Carter definitely thought he hit it. Referee was wrong to change her decision, though it’s not unprecedented. The people calling Carter a cheat don’t know snooker. He definitely thought he hit it.

    • Anybody with a decent set of eyes could quite CLEARLY see he did not hit the ball,not even close,i think that put john off,if called correctly then john would have cleared up!very bad sportsmanship and i will no longer cheer for carter,that has put me right off him,but all this could have avoided if the referee had stood by the rules.

  18. Rowland little.

    Is snooker a joke sport? First and last time I’ll want such nonsense. Weak referee should be barred from future involvement in the game because of total incompetence and player should be disqualified and serve lengthy ban for cheating. Get your act together snooker authorities.

  19. Richard sleeman

    We all know snooker is played with honesty and integrity, so the ref believed carter, no harm in that, yet carter blatantly lied and cheated as there was no way he could of seen the white hit the yellow (cos it didn’t ) i dont think a player should try and influence a ref unless the ref asks for the players option… On this occasion i think the governing body should step in and fine carter for cheating.

  20. I am actually quite glad this accident occurred. I have always disliked carter, his attitude and his gamesmanship. Now the whole world had a chance to see his true colours. I rest my case.

  21. Andrew Crines

    Carter is a disgrace.

  22. Has to be said that the referee must take the most of the blame, she is there to referee the match and should have stuck by her first decision, she must be held to account but I see she was refereeing again today, it’s a joke

  23. The referee got it right and ali Carter wouldn’t know the truth if it bit him referee decision should not be questioned by any player

  24. Referee got it right Ali Carter was wrong and he should go to optician to get his eyes checked he should know that the referees decision is non negotiable and must be respected at all times

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  26. Having 1st hand experience off what hes like,I’m glad the world can see what his really like

  27. What a petulant little bully, don’t know why they didn’t just check it on the screen

  28. Anthony hedges

    Cheat and a liar …Carter is an embarrassment…only qualified because Ronnie couldn’t be bothered 🤔

  29. Carter is a cheat simple as that throw him out of the masters

  30. Do the honourable thing Carter (like honourable gentlemen do in the game of cricket). They take a walk. In your case though keep walking and don’t ever come back.Become a politician, you’ll fit in well there because their always telling whoppers! I would not even feel safe playing you in tiddlywinks!

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  33. Allan Paul Whitebrook

    So sad the referee has been put in this situation. She called it right in the 1st place but was brow beaten by a petulant player..How many times have we all suffered similar things in life only for the perpetuater to walk away one up and smiling!

  34. pundits strangely quiet.He,s a cheat and should be labelled so on TV. by the so called honest experts.

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