Ten Chinese snooker players, including some of the sport’s biggest names, have been charged in an alleged match-fixing scandal that has plunged the game into a major corruption crisis.
The governing World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) said in a statement on Wednesday that an investigation by its integrity unit had found a number of violations by the players.
Keep readinglist of 3 items
The ninth-ranked Zhao Xintong has been charged “with being concerned in fixing matches on the World Snooker Tour” and betting on matches, it said, while the 16th-ranked Yan Bingtao is accused of fixing matches and betting on snooker.
Liang Wenbo, a former finalist in the United Kingdom Championship, has been charged with “being concerned in fixing matches and approaching players to fix matches on the World Snooker Tour, seeking to obstruct the investigation and failing to cooperate with the WPBSA investigation”.
The other players facing charges were Li Hang, Lu Ning, Zhang Jiankang, Chen Zifan, Chang Bingyu, Zhao Jianbo and Bai Langning.
“The players are currently suspended from attending and competing on the World Snooker Tour and in other WPBSA governed events until the conclusion of the hearing or hearings and the determination of this matter,” the statement said.
“This matter will be referred to a formal hearing before an Independent Disciplinary Tribunal that will take place at a venue and on a date to be confirmed,” it added.
Snooker became popular in China over the past decade, mainly due to the success of Ding Junhui, who has won the Masters and the UK Championship and was a runner-up in the World Championship.
Many Chinese players are based in an academy in the English city of Sheffield, where the World Championship is held every year.