World No.2 Judd Trump has speculated that young Chinese star Yan Bingtao could have been 'forced to do it' amid a match-fixing investigation.
Bingtao, aged 22, was the seventh player interviewed and suspended by the World Snooker Tour just hours before he was due to play in the English Open yesterday.
He joins compatriots Liang Wenbo, Lu Ning, Li Hang, Chang Bingyu, Bai Langning and Zhao Jianbo who have already been suspended. World No.16 Bingtao was the runner-up in the German Masters earlier this season and won The Masters last year. Trump feels that of those allegedly involved including Bingtao are found to have fixed matches, could have been 'forced' into match-fixing.
Speaking to The Metro snooker reporter Phil Haigh he said: "This one is a surprise I think, just because of what he's achieved.
"I've spoken to him a little bit and he seems a nice guy. I feel like there's someone higher up...they're so young. I just think maybe they've been forced to do it."
Bingtao was due to play Ashley Hugill in the English Open first round on Monday but was instead suspended from the tour. Trump progressed into the English Open second round with a 4-3 victory over Jackson Page.
Chairman of snooker's governing body WPBSA Jason Ferguson, took the decision to suspend Bingtao and has been surprised by the number of players involved in the investigation.
Ferguson said: "Yes, the headlines are damaging to the sport. But it would be more damaging to leave it and try to hide it.
"The only way to rid the sport of that damage is to deal with it as swiftly and as transparently as possible. For now these are suspensions while the investigation and due process take place. But any player trying to manipulate matches for betting purposes…they will be found out."
Ferguson added that fans who buy tickets for matches deserve to see the sport 'fought in the right way'.
He added: "We are a long way down the road in this investigation and I think things will be moving quickly, and any developments will be made public. But this has come as a shock, in terms of the number.”
“The process will take its course but it doesn’t put the game in a great light," added Selby. "We will have to wait and see what comes from the investigation.
“Anyone that ultimately gets done for that needs to get a severe punishment - that would send out a message to anyone else down the line, they would know that the punishment is severe.”