Referee Q & A


If you have a rules query please email we will publish & give the answer on this webpage

Here is the link to download a full copy of the WPBSA rules

Some guidance to make you a better referee

  1. Coin Toss – always in the hand – never on the floor
  2. The call is FOUL AND A MISS – not Foul and Miss
  3. Spot Hunting – be aware of what spots are available – do not go spot hunting
  4. Position – Position – Position – it cannot be stressed enough – read the play – anticipate your position


A player pots the last remaining red and in the same stroke pockets the cue ball. The referee in taking a line of sight from all possible positions within the D decides that both extreme edges of the ball on cannot be struck and announces ‘Free Ball’. The incoming striker, after careful consideration places the cue ball on the table within the lines of the D and nominates the Yellow ball which he then proceeds to pot.

Question 1. Does the Yellow ball become the free ball of choice once nominated?

Question 2. Is the Yellow ball re-spotted?

Question 3. With the same set of circumstance as explained in the first paragraph, the incoming striker this time elects to play the Brown as his free ball and upon making his stroke strikes the Brown and the Yellow balls simultaneously. What would be your decision?

Question 4. As in question 3 with Brown again nominated, the striker strikes the Yellow ball first. Would your decision be different?



In a frame of snooker the cue ball comes to rest hard up to the curve of the cushion next to a pocket such that a straight line path to all balls on is unavailable.

Question 1 – Is the incoming striker snookered?

Question 2 – Must the referee call a miss if a ball on is not first struck?

Question 3 – If a foul had occurred prior to the cue ball ending up in the position described, can the referee award a free ball?

Question 4 – The non striker is a female player wearing open toed shoes and a skirt, is this acceptable dress for a ranking tournament?



Snooker – Two part question related to a frame commencing

The Striker is about to commence the frame and as he is about to place the cue ball on the table to break he moves the Yellow ball.

Question 1 Is this a foul?

The Striker is about to break to commence the frame, and somehow mixes up the cue ball with the Yellow, breaks with the Yellow ball.

Question 2 Is this a foul?



Snooker – A series of questions related to spotting colours

Question 1. A colour has to be spotted after being potted and its own spot is occupied.  Where is it spotted?

Question 2. What if all spots are occupied?

Question 3. What about Pink and Black, assuming all spots are occupied, and there is no room between their own spots and the nearest part of the top cushion?

Question 4. Black and Brown are to be spotted, the Black spot is occupied but the Brown spot is vacant.  Which ball goes where?

Question 5. Black and Brown again have to be spotted and both their spots are occupied, but the Blue spot is vacant.  Which ball goes where this time?

Question 6.This time Black and Brown again have to be spotted and both their spots are occupied, but the Pink and Blue spots are vacant. Where are the balls spotted now?




A frame of Snooker has reached the stage where only one red is left to be potted. The outgoing striker on leaving the table has left the balls in the following positions. The cue ball on the Baulk line next to the Brown. The Yellow just behind the cue ball towards the Baulk cushion, the Green on its spot and the Blue tight to the top cushion. The Black, Pink and final Red are in a line with the Red in the middle, the Black on one side touching the Red and the Pink on the other also touching the Red. The Pink is on its spot and the line formed by all three object balls is at right angles to the cue ball.

With his first attempt to strike the Red the player first strikes the Black. The referee calls “Foul and a Miss” as penalty points are not required by either player after the awarding of the 7 points for the foul on the Black. His opponent asks for the balls to be replaced and the stroke replayed. At his second attempt the player this time strikes at the opposite side of the Red and in doing so first strikes the Pink. The referee again calls “Foul and a Miss”, awards 6 points to the non striker and the balls are re-set on his request. The referee then warns the offender that a third Miss will result in the frame being awarded to the non striker.

The next stroke played sees the Red and the Pink struck simultaneously.

What is the next action to be taken by the referee and explain the rule that is applicable to the decision?






Question 1. The white ball striker plays from in hand and hits the yellow and red simultaneously the red bounces off the cushion and knocks the white in. What score does the referee call?


Question 2. How does the referee deal with a touching ball in billiards differently to a referee in a snooker match?






In a frame of Snooker, the scores are level and only the Pink and Black are left on the table. The Pink ball is hanging over the edge of one pocket and the Black is hanging over another one.
Player A. pots the Pink and the referee calls ‘six’. However player A loses the frame without making a Foul. How does this happen?
There is no trick. There was no disqualification or conceding.




Question 1. A red has just been potted and the cue-ball comes to rest touching the colour ball Pink. What action does the referee now take?

Question 2. What are the options of the Striker?

Question 3. What if the cue-ball came to rest touching a ball on and a ball not on?




Question. – A player finding himself in an awkward situation where cueing is difficult and decides to unscrew his two piece cue and play with just the top piece. What would be your immediate action if you suspect that it is less than legal length and how would you determine if it is or isn’t when no measuring device is at hand?