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Leo Scullion thrilled to referee first World Championship final

Leo Scullion

World Snooker Championship
Venue: Crucible Theatre Dates: 20 April-6 May Coverage: Follow on the BBC

Leo Scullion “couldn’t be any happier” after being chosen to referee snooker’s World Championship final for the first time.

The Scot, 60, has been a professional referee for 20 years and was treated for lung cancer in late 2014.

The tournament at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre starts on 20 April culminating in the final on 5 and 6 May.

“It’s fantastic, absolutely fantastic, it has to be the pinnacle of any referee’s career,” Scullion said.

Scullion was forced to take a break from his refereeing career while he underwent treatment, including two cycles of chemotherapy.

The cancer has now been in remission for nearly five years, with Scullion able to return to the tour in 2016.

Since then, he has been in charge of the final of his home event, the Scottish Open, on two occasions. He was also in the middle for Mark Williams’ 17-15 win over Barry Hawkins in the semi-finals at the Crucible last year.

He said: “In those dark days, I suppose one of the things that would’ve been on my mind, although not immediately, was would I ever be back refereeing never mind being chosen to do this?

“I’m pleased with myself that, I’ve obviously been very lucky, somehow I’ve managed to come through the health part of it. And, through walking and doing a bit of cycling, trying to do a bit of fitness just for my own personal satisfaction, it’s allowed me to be back refereeing. I couldn’t be any happier.”

Scullion, a former policeman in Glasgow, started refereeing at amateur level in the mid-1980s and has officiated at three World Championship semi-finals.

And he said of the day of the final: “In the morning, I will be in bits. I’ll probably wake up at the crack of dawn if I manage to get to sleep the night before at all. As soon as the match starts, I’ll be fine.”

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