Fans say Saudis ‘making it up as they go along’ after major rule change to $1million snooker event on eve of tournament

FANS CLAIMED that the Saudis were “making it up as they go along” after another major change on the eve of the controversial tournaments.

Originally it was supposed to be eight of the planet’s best snooker stars plus two Middle Eastern wildcards heading to the Middle East for the Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker between March 4 to 6.

PARonnie O’Sullivan will be one of the star names in Saudi Arabia[/caption]

The tournament has attracted a lot of criticism after the introduction of a golden ball, which will be worth 20 points, that can be used to make a break of 167.

Anyone who hits a “miracle” 167 break will receive a mega £400,000 cash bonus – yet the unique feat will NOT be eligible to go down as a world record.

The build-up for the event has been a chaotic one with the full details regarding the new gimmick only released on Saturday afternoon.

Each frame will start with the Gold Ball on the baulk cushion level with the brown spot and if a player accidentally pots the Gold Ball early in the frame or hits it before hitting the object ball then that will result in a four-point foul.

The new ball will remain on the table as long as it is possible for a player to make a 147, then if a maximum is no longer possible, the Gold Ball will be removed by the referee until the next frame.

However, despite the big-money on offer, it won’t get acknowledged officially as an extra 23rd ball carrying such a points value is not in the rule book.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, Luca Brecel and Mark Allen are among those set to battle it out with a prize pool of £800,000 up for grabs.

But now two more names have been added to the line-up at the last-minute and, after the Gold Ball controversy, it has irked fans even more.

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Chinese star Ding Junhui, 36, and Scottish icon John Higgins, 48, were announced as part of the “expanded” tournament today.

And it led to a backlash from snooker supporters against the Saudi organisers.

“Just making it up as you go along,” responded one on X to the news.

Another joked: “Superb planning for this event. Hats off to the organisers.”

A fellow angry punter posted: “Making it all up on the hoof.”

While a fourth added: “It’s getting even more embarrassing & ridiculous.”

And another claimed: “This is embarrassing for the sport.”

The controversial Gold Ball has been widely-slammed

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