Two Chinese snooker players have been given lifetime bans and eight more suspensions of between two-and-a-half and eight years after being found guilty of match fixing offences by the independent WPBSA Disciplinary Commission on Tuesday. All 10 had been provisionally suspended in January pending the investigation.
The two players banned for life are Liang Wenbo and Li Hang, with the commission finding that each had fixed or was party to fix five snooker matches in September 2022; that they “solicited, induced, enticed, persuaded, encouraged, or facilitated players to fix nine matches” between 24 July and 13 December 2022; that they bet on matches; that they threatened other players; and that they covered up their offences while refusing to cooperate with the WPBSA (World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association) inquiry.
The other suspensions include eight years for Lu Ning, seven years and six months for Yan Bingtao and Chen Zifan, four years and five months for Zhang Jiankang, four years for Bai Langning, three years and six months for Zhao Jianbo, three years for Chang Bingyu and two years and six months for Zhao Xintong. Some of those sentences have been reduced for assisting the inquiry.
“This has been a very complex case,” said WPBSA Chairman, Jason Ferguson. “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. 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.”
WPBSA said the 10 players have until 20 June 2023 to appeal the decisions of the Disciplinary Commission.