Who are the top female snooker referees? We look at the women officials taking centre stage at the top level of snooker.
First held in 1976, the World Women’s Snooker Championship has allowed the best female snooker players to compete against one another on the World Women’s Snooker Tour.
Nowadays, there are more women in snooker than ever before – with a number of female snooker referees now taking centre stage at the biggest snooker tournaments.
Female Snooker Referees:
Snooker betting experts will be familiar with Michaela Tabb and Desislava Bozhilova on this list but there are now a plethora of female snooker referees officiating at the highest level of the men’s game.
The role of a snooker referee goes way beyond monitoring fouls and snooker shot clock time limits and many female snooker referees rank amongst the best in the business.
The queen of the female snooker referees world, Michaela Tabb is widely regarded as the most famous woman in snooker.
After refereeing professionally on the pool circuit, Tabb qualified in 2001 to referee on the World Snooker Tour – becoming the sport’s highest profile female referee.
Tabb officiated on the professional tour for 14 years, becoming the first woman to officiate at a ranking snooker tournament in 2002. In addition, Tabb became the first women to referee a ranking tournament final five years later as she took charge of the 2007 Welsh Open final.
At the time of writing, Tabb is the only female snooker referee to take charge of the World Snooker Championship final – achieving that feat in 2009 and 2012.
A high-profile female referee for the best part of five years, Tatiana Woollaston started off refereeing amateur events in Belarus in 2008. In 2010, Woollaston refereed at her first European Tour event before officiating a semi-final at the tournament in Prague. Now one of the best woman snooker referees, Woollaston is a regular on European Tour and world ranking snooker events. She officiated on television for the first time at the 2015 Welsh Open and earned a place at the Crucible in 2020, refereeing a World Championship match for the first time.
Woollaston has a degree in economics and is married to professional player Ben Woollaston. With two children, this is a real snooker-mad family!
The first successful Bulgarian referee, Proletina Velichkova began her journey in 2011 after noticing the Bulgarian Snooker Referees Association were looking for officials. Having first officiated at a European Tour event at the 2012 Bulgarian Open, Velichkova is now one of snooker’s most popular referees. She took charge of her first televised match in 2013 and has refereed a number of major televised ranking matches, both in Bulgaria and around the world. As well as being a top female snooker referee, Velichkova has a degree in Scandinavian studies and has discussed the possibility of working in languages.
Velichkova enjoys reading, drawing and has a keen interest in social and sports psychology – which has a positive impact on her role as a snooker official.
Monika Sulkowska started refereeing in 2012 and she has matured into one of the greatest women snooker officials in recent years. Her first World Snooker competition was the 2014 Gdynia Open and she witnessed history at that tournament as Shaun Murphy scored a perfect 147 break.
Sulkowska has officiated at various events, including the Home Nations series, German Masters and qualifying stages of the World Snooker Championship. While her woman snooker referee salary is no comparison to Ronnie O’Sullivan net worth figures, Sulowska makes a decent living from the sport. In addition, she is a freelance sports journalist and book editor. Away from snooker, the Polish official enjoys climbing and travelling the world.
The top female snooker referee right now, Desislava Bozhilova’s journey from the Bulgarian town of Silven to the World Snooker stage is sensational. Initially a pool player, Bozhilova grew up watching snooker on television and decided to try her hand at becoming an official snooker referee.
Bozhilova has been known to credit Michaele Tabb with eradicating sexism in snooker, heaping praise on the two-time World Championship final referee on more than one occasion.
With the chance to travel the world, Bozhilova loves snooker and the lifestyle – and she could dominate the female snooker referee landscape for years to come. Bozhilova could be one to referee the World Championship final in the future, such is her standing in the snooker universe.