POPULAR REFEREE MICHAELA TABB has left the World Snooker circuit following a long running dispute with the governing body.

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn confirmed today that Tabb, who officiated in two World Championship finals, had resigned.

It is understood she returned home early from last July’s Australian Goldfields Open in Bendigo. The precise details of the fall-out have not been disclosed but Tabb has not refereed since.

Tabb, 47, has been a well-liked fixture on the professional circuit since she was fast-tracked by World Snooker in 2001, having been a well known pool referee.

Personable, helpful and above all efficient, she was soon refereeing regularly on television and in 2009 became the first woman to take charge of a world final. One of her legacies is that women now referee TV tournaments without their gender being remarked on, whereas before Tabb it was a rarity.

Most importantly, she had the respect of the players and was regarded as a safe pair of gloves out in the middle for some of snooker’s biggest matches.

“World Snooker would like to take the opportunity to thank Michaela for her contribution to World Snooker over the last 14 years and wish her all the best with her future refereeing endeavours,” said a statement from the governing body.

Tabb has been refereeing in Snooker Legends events and is free to continue in this role and in exhibitions.