Ex-UK champion becomes 10th star banned as snooker match-fixing crisis worsens

January 3, 2023
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Snooker star Zhao Xintong has become the 10th player to be suspended from the World Snooker Tour as part of an ongoing match-fixing investigation.

The World No.26 is the highest ranked player so far to be linked with the damning investigation and has been suspended along with Chinese compatriot Zhang Jiankang. Before Christmas, eight other Chinese players were also suspended as the match-fixing investigation gathered pace.

Xintong, who won the UK Championship and German Open last season, had been scheduled to play four-time world champion Mark Selby at the prestigious Masters tournament on Sunday. Both 25-year-old Xintong and Jiankang can appeal their suspensions.

A World Snooker Tour statement said that the match-fixing investigation is expected to be completed "shortly".

“The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) chairman Jason Ferguson has taken the decision to suspend Zhao Xintong and Zhang Jiankang from attending or competing on the World Snooker Tour with immediate effect," the statement said.

“This decision is part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of manipulating the outcome of matches for betting purposes in breach of the WPBSA Conduct Regulations.

“The suspension will remain in place until the conclusion of the investigation or any subsequent charges that may or may not be brought. Both Zhao and Zhang have the right to appeal this decision.

“The WPBSA can confirm that the wider investigation is now at an advanced stage, and it is anticipated it will be completed shortly at which point any potential charges will be considered.”

(Image: PA)

Xintong and Jiankang join the other eight snooker stars who were suspended before Christmas including Liang Wenbo, Lu Ning, Li Hang, Bai Langning, Chang Bingyu and Zhao Jianbo. Currently all 10 players are suspended while the WPBSA investigation into match-fixing is completed.

If any of the players are subsequently charged and found guilty of offences related to the manipulating of matches for betting purposes, they can expect lengthy bans from the game.

Zhao Xintong has been suspended from the World Snooker Tour ahead of the prestigious Masters tournament starting on Sunday
Zhao Xintong has been suspended from the World Snooker Tour ahead of the prestigious Masters tournament starting on Sunday
(Image: PA)

WPBSA chairman Ferguson previously admitted that the investigation is 'damaging to the sport'.

"It would be more damaging to leave it and try to hide it," Feguson said. "The only way to rid the sport of that damage is to deal with it as swiftly as possible. Any player in any sport these days and especially snooker that thinks they can manipulate matches for betting purposes…they will be found out.

“Everything is connected, and we have a sophisticated team and systems in place."

This post appeared first on Daily Star - Snooker.

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