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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Michael Turnbull

World Snooker issues lifetime and lengthy bans following match fixing scandal

Ten Chinese Snooker players have received lengthy bans from the sport following their roles in the match fixing scandal that has thrown a dark shadow over the sport in recent months.

The sports governing body, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, today released a statement detailing the lengths of the bans. They include two lifetime and eight lengthy bans which affect some of the brightest young prospects in the sport.

Former ranking event winner Liang Wenbo is one of the players to be handed a lifetime ban. He won the 2016 English Open and reached the final of the 2015 UK Championship. He was charged with 'being concerned in fixing matches and approaching players to fix matches on the World Snooker Tour, seeking to obstruct the WPBSA investigation and failing to cooperate with the investigation." Hence the severity of his supension.

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Li Hang is a two-time ranking event semi-finalist and has also received a lifetime ban. He was charged with the same offences as Wenbo minus the charge of "failing to cooperate with the investigation".

Two of the most exciting young prospects in World Snooker, Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong have both been handed bans with portions supended. Bingtao won't play professionaly again until 2027 whilst Xintong can resume playing in December 2024.

The next longest ban is for Chen Ziefan who will be out of the game until December 2027. The other five players will all be missing until April 2025 at the earliest.

Jason Ferguson WPBSA Chairman said “This has been a very complex case. It has been heart-breaking to see some young talented players fall foul of the WPBSA Conduct Regulations through pressure exerted by two senior players. This behaviour has been recognised as wholly unacceptable by the imposition of two lifetime bans from participating in recognised snooker in any way.

“Those who try to corrupt sport are constantly trying to find new ways to avoid our monitoring processes and this outcome must be taken as a lesson to those who think they can avoid detection. If any player is involved in fixing a snooker match, they will be caught and will face severe penalties.

“I am pleased that the Commission found that they did not see from the present case “any evidence of a wider culture of wrongdoing in snooker”. The WPBSA will continue its strong stance against those who try to manipulate sport and today’s outcome sends out a clear message that match fixing will not be tolerated in snooker.”

Snooker is no stranger to match fixing with numerous players investigated and many banned throughout its history. Former world no. 5 Stephen Lee was handed a 12-year ban in 2012 for match-fixing. Four-time World Champion John Higgins was investigated and cleared of the offence but served a 6-month suspension in 2010 for failing to report an illegal approach and intentionally giving the impression he was prepared to act in breach of betting rules.


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