Ten snooker stars could be JAILED after being banned from playing following shocking corruption probe | The Sun

Ten snooker stars could be JAILED after being banned from playing following shocking corruption probe | The Sun

June 9, 2023

THE 10 disgraced Chinese snooker stars who have been banned from the baize could be JAILED by authorities in their homeland.

An independent WPBSA disciplinary commission handed lifetime bans to Liang Wenbo and Li Hang following a five-month corruption probe that has rocked the sport.

Eight other players, including Triple Crown winners Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong, have been barred from competitions for a total of 27 years.

Yet the guilty group – who have to pay a total of nearly £150,000 in costs – may face tough punishments when they return home following the litany of match-fixing offences and betting breaches.

The Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association (CBSA) said it would “hold cautionary education across the whole industry and launch a series of measures to carry out anti-betting and anti-counterfeiting to the end”.

WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson told SunSport: “Our partners in China, who are in the government office, have been working side-by-side with us in this case.


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“These players all signed up to an agreement with the sport’s authority of China not to get involved in this kind of thing.

“That could mean they end up with secondary charges. It could even end up as criminal charges for some players.

“We have yet to see that but we will provide all information to our partners.

“Everything will be looked at from top to bottom. We don’t know if they will face further charges. That will be up to the authorities.”

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WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson thinks there could be 'criminal charges' for some playersCredit: Rex

Snooker bosses have no plans to chase up the 10 suspended players and ask for the return of prize money won from matches that were fixed.

The banned individuals have a two-week window in which they can lodge any appeals against the sanctions.

Ferguson says his organisation will ramp up education initiatives in China, particularly face-to-face meetings which were not possible during the 2020 and 2021 Covid lockdowns.

Xintong, who won the UK Championship in York in 2021, became the first cueist involved to offer a public apology.

The world No11 could be eligible to play again after serving his 20-month sentence, the lightest of all the suspensions.

He insisted he had never fixed any match or even considering match-fixing but he failed to refuse a friend’s request to assist with betting.

Xintong, 26, said: “I have been thoroughly regretting my ignorance and silliness since being suspended a few months ago.

“I feel ashamed as I disappointed everybody by making a mistake. I just want to say sorry to everyone.

“I didn’t make any profit from it, but I paid a heavy price for my foolishness.”

Ferguson added: “Xintong could return to the World Snooker Tour if he pays his dues, serves his time, does what he is told in China.

“It will be interesting to see how he is welcomed back. That’s something for him to deal with.

“I don’t think any player is happy about this at all. In fact the rest of the membership are furious about this case.

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“They know deep down this is damaging to the sport. They give 100% on every ball.

“And anybody out there who is not trying to win every frame or pot every ball are not welcome in the sport at this point.”

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