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The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) has issued a series of bans and suspensions to 10 players after they were found guilty of match-fixing.
The players in question were charged earlier this year for breaching regulations, with the WPBSA Disciplinary Commission having now settled on penalties.
Liang Wenbo was given a lifetime band and ordered to pay £43,000 (€49,976/$53,365) in costs, while Li Hang was also banned for life and told to pay £43,000.
Both players were found to have fixed or help fix a number of matches, as well as solicited, induced, enticed, persuaded, encouraged or facilitated players to fix another nine matches.
Such was the seriousness of the breaches that the WPBSA said these warranted lifetime bans for both players.
WPBSA rules strictly prohibit all players from placing bets on snooker matches, while any approaches or reports of match-fixing or other corruption should be reported to the WPBSA at the first opportunity.
Other players issues with penalties included Lu Ning, who was suspended for five years and four months, Yan Bingtao, who will serve a five-year suspension, and Zhao Xintong, whose suspension will run one year and eight months.
Zhao Jianbo will serve a suspension of 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 players who will serve a suspension had their penalties reduced after early admissions and guilty pleas.
“This has been a very complex case. 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,” WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said.
“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.”
The case arose following an alert in August 2022 from the International Betting integrity Association (IBIA). The WPBSA Integrity Unit then worked with Sportradar to investigate the issue.
IBIA chief executive Khalid Ali welcomed the news of bans and suspensions, saying that this would send a “clear message” to others about the dangers of match-fixing.
“We would like to congratulate the WPBSA on successfully prosecuting this case,” Ali said. “It highlights the vital role played by well-regulated betting markets in deterring corruption and sends a very clear message to all athletes about the risks of engaging in match-fixing.”
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