World Snooker Championship 2013: Dott wants rule change


Former world champion Graeme Dott says snooker rules need to be changed to speed up "slow play".

Dott defeated Peter Ebdon 10-6 in the first round of the World Championship in a marathon match that took over seven hours to complete.

"The only thing I can think of is having a shot clock, because it's killing the game," said the Scot.

"The standard these days is very high and there's no need to be as slow as Peter was."

WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson

"Four minutes with an empty table on TV is a long time. We have to think about TV.

"There are a number of players that leave the arena after every frame, and that can be for a number of reasons - nerves, just wanting to calm down, or it might just be to wash your hands if it's quite sticky in the arena.

"Perhaps we do need to address that and look at if we need to put some limits on that. There used to be a limit.

"The referee's in charge of the match and perfectly entitled to speak to a player and say, 'Listen, you're taking too long'.

"If the referee feels a player is dragging the match down and playing too slow on purpose he's perfectly entitled to call that into question."

He added: "Is Peter cheating? No, because there isn't a rule and there should be a rule brought in for slow play.

"I think he's been playing for 25 years and he knows the shot he's going to play and I know the shot and the crowd know the shot, and he'll still take maybe over a minute.

"Because he was taking so long I was actually trying to think of one [a rule] when I was out there playing."

The Dott-Ebdon clash went over into an extra session, after the players failed to complete the match in the allotted two sessions.

But the repeat of the 2006 world final - which finished at 12.52am - still fell three hours short of the the longest first-round match in Crucible history in 1989 between Eddie Charlton and Cliff Thorburn - going on for a gruelling 10 hours, 24 minutes.

Dott believes officials need to step in when players are taking excessive time in playing shots.

"Peter's not the only one that does it [plays slowly]. There are other players high up the rankings that I think take liberties," he said.

"You can't say to someone that you've got a minute to play your shot because Peter will take that minute, he'll just run the clock down.

"There isn't a rule for toilet breaks so again Peter isn't breaking any rules. But there should be a rule.

"Referees back in the day were harder. I remember John Williams saying to Quentin Hann: 'No, play. You're not going to the toilet. You've just been to the toilet'.

"The referees nowadays just referee. They don't want any controversy."