TWO CHINESE snooker players have been banned for life – with eight others suspended for up to a total of 27 YEARS – in the biggest match-fixing scandal in British sport.
Today the independent World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) Disciplinary Commission delivered its decision on the individuals charged with a series of match-fixing offences.
PA2021 Masters champion Yan Bingtao is one of the ten Chinese players that have been charged with match-fixing offences[/caption]
GettyLiang Wenbo has been charged with approaching player to fix World Snooker Tour matches[/caption]
Ringleaders Liang Wenbo – who beat Judd Trump to win the 2016 English Open – and world No.71 Li Hang will not be allowed to play professional snooker again and must individually pay £43,000 in costs.
Yan Bingtao, winner of the Masters crown in 2021, will be off the World Snooker Tour for five years until December 11, 2027.
The 23-year-old – who has to pay £7,500 in costs – was initially given a suspension of seven years and six months but that was reduced following early admissions and a plea of guilty.
Zhao Xintong, who lifted the UK Championship in 2021, has been given a one-year, eight-month ban until September 1, 2024, and required to pay £7,500 in costs.
This was reduced from two years and six months following early admissions and his guilty plea to adjudicators.
Bans were also handed out to six other snooker aces, but the tribunal made significant reductions after considering early admissions and pleas of guilt.
Lu Ning (five years and four months), Zhao Jianbo (two years and four months), Chang Bingyu (two years), Bai Langning (two years and eight months), Chen Zifan (five years) and Zhang Jiankang (two years and 11 months) all received strong punishments for fixing matches.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson, 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 case was heard in London between April 24-26 – during the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield – and on May 3, with players attending in person or via video link.
The International Betting Integrity Association became aware of an ‘alert’ of wrongdoing in August 2022 and a detailed investigation was carried out by the WPBSA Integrity Unit and Sportradar.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson has called the situation ‘heartbreaking’Rex