All ten players have been banned from the sport.
China.- Ten Chinese snooker players have been banned for match-fixing. The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) handed two players, Liang Wenbo and Li Hang, lifetime bans for their involvement in fixing matches and soliciting others to do the same, ending their careers.
The WPBSA found Liang and Li to be the ringleaders of the fraud. The remaining eight players admitted breaches of various WPBSA Conduct Regulations and received shorter bans.
Jason Ferguson, WPBSA chairman said “This has been a very complex case. It has been heartbreaking 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.”
The players were suspended pending an investigation following an alert from the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) in August 2022. The WPBSA Integrity Unit conducted an investigation in collaboration with Sportradar. The WPBSA appointed Ian Mill KC as the chair of the Independent Disciplinary Commission, accompanied by Grace Cheng of counsel and Gordon McKay.
The case was heard in London from April 24 to 26, with the players appearing either in person or via video link. Each player received legal representation or assistance from the WPBSA Players Association.
After the verdict was announced, the WPBSA Players Board of Directors issued a statement saying it was extremely saddened “by the actions of all of those concerned who have been found guilty of such serious breaches of the WPBSA rules.”
It said: “WPBSA Players wish to acknowledge the work of the WPBSA and its partners in bringing the case to a conclusion and seeking to protect the integrity of snooker in the interests of all its members who continue to play by the rules with passion and commitment to the game of snooker.”