How snooker's match-fixing probe led to Yan Bingtao suspension

December 13, 2022
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Phil Haigh ✍️  

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Yan Bingtao has been suspended from the World Snooker Tour (Picture: Getty Images)

Jason Ferguson, chairman of the WPBSA, says snooker’s match-fixing investigation uncovered new evidence, which led to an interview with Yan Bingtao on Monday and his subsequent suspension.

Yan became the latest player to be suspended from World Snooker Tour events due to the match-fixing probe, with seven players now barred from competing in or attending tournaments while the investigation continues.

The former Masters champion, and current world number 16, is the highest profile name to be suspended after Liang Wenbo, Lu Ning, Li Hang, Bai Langning, Chang Bingyu and Zhao Jianbo were all hit with suspensions.

The 22-year-old’s suspension was a dramatic one as he arrived to play at the English Open in Brentwood on Monday, but instead was interviewed over his possible connection with the match-fixing scandal, and subsequently suspended with immediate effect.

Speaking on Eurosport on Monday, Ferguson said: ‘Yan Bingtao turned up this morning and he was interviewed at length by Nigel Mawer, our head of integrity.

‘As a result of that interview and discussions, I took the decision to suspend Yan Bingtao with immediate effect, pending any outcome of this investigation or any potential disciplinary proceedings which may follow.’

Ferguson further explained, telling The Sportsman on Monday: ‘New evidence had come to light ahead of today in the investigation into manipulation of matches – which implicated Yan Bingtao.

‘The player was interviewed this morning and as a result I took the decision to suspend him from competition pending the outcome of the investigation and any disciplinary proceedings that might result.

‘All of the players are temporarily suspended, sanctions imposed by me as chairman. We take a zero tolerance approach to the manipulation of matches.

‘We are experienced in investigations of this kind, we have a fantastic team headed by Nigel Mawer, our Head of Integrity, who has been working on this one for some time.

‘We didn’t know how far it would go, and as the case has progressed more players have become involved. But none have yet been charged, prosecuted or found guilty of fixing matches. But they are implicated. And while that is the case, they are suspended.’

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Liang Wenbo has been suspended since 27 October (Picture: Getty Images)

Liang Wenbo was the first to be suspended in October, although it was not confirmed at the time that it was due to match-fixing. When the five suspensions were announced on Friday 9 December, it was confirmed that all six players were out of action due to ‘allegations of manipulating the outcome of matches for betting purposes.’

It is not known whether there could be more suspensions to come, but world number 46 Chris Wakelin expressed his fear that there could be.

Wakelin tweeted: ‘This is a very dark day for snooker. I doubt @WeAreWST have got to the bottom of this investigation yet but it scares me how deep the rabbit hole may go. Integrity is everything in sport, this could jeopardise ours for many years to come.’

Encouragingly, Ferguson did say that the investigation is progressing well, telling Eurosport: ‘We’re a long way down the road with this investigation. It won’t take as long as you think.’

This post appeared first on Snooker – Metro.

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