World Snooker are refusing to confirm or deny claims that a member of the main tour has been fined £2,000 after being found guilty of offering an opponent £1,000 to lose the match they were playing.
This is a very serious allegation. The player would have been in breach of rule 2.8 of section 2.c of the WPBSA handbook, which states “a member shall not directly or indirectly solicit, attempt to solicit or accept any payment or any form of remuneration of benefit in exchange for influencing the outcome of any game of snooker or billiards.”
I should stress that the player said to be involved is not a household name. I shall not name him until further investigations have been completed.
Peter Francisco was banned for five years for losing 10-2 to Jimmy White in the first round of the 1995 World Championship. This was the scoreline on which huge amounts of money had been placed pre-match.
Quinten Hann was banned for eight years and fined £10,000 for agreeing – on tape – to receive £50,000 for losing a match, although the scam was called off because it had been initiated not, as Hann apparently believed, by a betting cartel but by a national newspaper.
In this latest case, it is claimed the player was found guilty by the WPBSA disciplinary committee but will be allowed to continue playing on the circuit.
I have asked World Snooker to clarify this - or deny it if it isn't true - but they are making no comment.
What other sport conducts its disciplinary affairs in such shadowy secrecy?
In tennis, when claims of match-fixing were made an independent report was commissioned, published earlier this week.
Gerry Sutcliffe, the Minister for Sport in the British government, stated he hoped those found guilty of this offence would be jailed for up to two years under new legislation.
Surely if there has been malpractice, a governing body should not only punish those involved but do so in public to prove they are weeding out those players who break the rules?
And if the claims are completely untrue, why not just say so?