In any tournament the Tournament Director will make all the general announcements but it is the duty of the match referee to make the announcements that pertain to the one being officiated. The referee in charge of any match is obligated to keep both the players and any spectators informed of the progress of the match as well as calling any scores or fouls and the penalties incurred, during the course of it.

There is a certain vocabulary associated with these necessary announcements and any serious deviation from the prescribed system could sound incongruous as well as possibly confusing for the players and/or the audience.

It is, for instance, always necessary at the start of any match, to announce which player is to break. The information of which of the players won the toss does not need to be imparted to any audience and it is a personal choice whether or not to say so. It is also not necessary for the referee to announce which round is being contested or over how many frames the contest will be played. There is however nothing to stop a referee from making these things clear and it is again, a personal choice as to whether to impart this information or not. It is certainly not necessary to do this before the start of any of the subsequent frames and is one of those things that does sound incongruous and could prompt the accusation that the referee ‘likes the sound of his own voice’. The only other duty of the referee is to indicate to the player who is to break, that the first stroke may be played, which is usually done by stating the word ‘play’. This, after all pre-match duties have been completed by the referee and who is in position to observe that first stroke. Announcements made before any frames after this first one must only include which number frame it is and who is to break. This announcement will be understood by the breaking players that the referee is ready for the frame to start and that they are at liberty to do so. Announcing the updated frame score before each frame is a personal choice but not vital as frame numbers should be displayed on the scoreboard and visible to all.

This completes the obligations of the things to say prior to the match and before subsequent frames.

During the course of any of those frames the referee still has a duty to make certain announcements and I will not STBO (state the bleedin’ obvious) here about scores, fouls and penalties but instead outline what those other obligations are.

If the referee is of the opinion that both extreme edges of any ball that is, or could be on, cannot be struck after a foul, the announcement to the non-offender that a ‘Free Ball’ is awarded must be made. It is the duty of the referee in this situation to ascertain that the extreme edges are unable to be struck and that balls on in close proximity to the cue-ball have had the full diligence and painstaking scrutiny of the referee that this is the case, before the call is made. Similarly, if the cue ball is in hand then the same conditions must be met for any position on or within the ‘D’.

Similar diligence and scrutiny are also required if it is suspected that the cue-ball is touching one of the object balls. If it is touching a ball on then the referee must announce to the striker that this is so and indicate which ball it is if more than one are in close proximity. The referee must also make it clear to the striker that the cue-ball is touching more than one ball on if that is the case. If the cue-ball comes to rest touching any colour after a red has been potted, the announcement by the referee must also include the demand that the striker verbalises the choice of which of the colours is intended to be struck first, this may also of course include the touching ball. The preferred statement by the referee to the player in this case is ‘touching ball, please declare’. It is because nominating can be done by indication as well as verbally that the word ‘declare’ is preferred to the word ‘nominate’ when asking for this decision, so that no ambiguity is included in the exchange.

If at any time the referee is uncertain in any degree of the choice of colour by the striker after the potting of a red, the referee must ask that a nomination be made by that striker. If it is not forthcoming the referee must then call ‘foul’ and award a penalty of 7 points regardless of either, any colour being struck first, or of a red being struck first, or nothing being struck.

If the referee is of the opinion after a foul that the obligation is to also call a miss, the announcement of this must also be made and be clear to both players at the least. If, in accordance with rule 14, the call is the third in a sequence that allows it, the referee must also announce the warning that the frame will be forfeit by the offender upon a further miss.

As soon as it is certain that the frame is at an end, either by being won or claimed, or by concession, the referee must make that announcement. It is never necessary to state that the frame is conceded if that is how the result has been decided, but to just announce ‘frame’ and then indicate which of the players has been successful. Announcing ‘frame conceded’ is another of those statements that could be considered incongruous.

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