Snooker: Chinese players banned for life for match-fixing
Wednesday, 7 June 2023 (10:48 IST)
Chinese players Liang Wenbo and Li Hang were given lifetime bans from snooker on Tuesday for match-fixing. They will also have to pay £43,000 ($53,000) in costs each.
A total of 10 players from China were banned for varying periods by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) on Tuesday.
The number includes former UK Championship winner Zhao Xintong who was banned for one year and eight months, and Yan Bingtao, the 2021 Masters champion, who was banned for five years.
What are the charges?
The charges included manipulating games, approaching players to cheat, betting on snooker and fixing a match.
"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 (Liang and Li)," WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said.
"This behavior has been recognized as wholly unacceptable by the imposition of two lifetime bans from participating in recognized snooker in any way," he said.
Despite the breadth of the current scandal, Ferguson also said that the commission did not find "any evidence of a wider culture of wrongdoing in snooker."
When were the matches fixed?
An investigation was launched following an alert in August 2022 from the International Betting Integrity Association. A detailed investigation was carried out by the WPBSA Integrity Unit and Sportradar. The 10 players were then suspended pending an investigation.
Liang was found to have "fixed or been a party to fix five snooker matches" between July 24 and September 28, 2022.
The panel determined that the 36-year-old player also "solicited, induced, enticed, persuaded, encouraged or facilitated players to fix nine matches" between July 24 and December 13, 2022.
The sanctioned players all have the right to appeal, and have two weeks to decide if they wish to.