Sir Rodney Walker, the chairman of World Snooker, has told the Guardian newspaper that the game’s governing body will sign a memorandum of understanding with Betfair in the next few days following reports that the Gambling Commission is investigating unusual betting patterns on the Peter Ebdon v Liang Wenbo at last month’s Northern Ireland Trophy.

Most British sports governing bodies have already signed this. It allows them to share information with Betfair and therefore follow an audit trail to see who is putting bets on which matches.

World Snooker had discussions with Betfair as far back as 2004. Had they signed the MOU then, the various accusations of match fixing that have occurred since may have been easily dismissed.

I do not believe that snooker has a match fixing problem. However, it has had a problem with the perception that not all matches are honest over the last couple of years.

In the main, this has resulted in the tournaments played using a round robin format where inequality of motivation between players has led to some suspicions.

Walker is doing the right thing by signing a MOU with Betfair.

The obvious question, though, is why his organisation didn’t do so much earlier.

Guardian story here.


Scott said...


It's important to realise that although MoU's do allow organisations access to betting details if Betfair deem there to be suspicious or highly unusual activity, in this case it would be useless. The Guardian story pointed out that many of the bets on the Ebdon match were attempted to be placed in betting shops, where anonymity abounds.

In events where there is only two possible outcomes (markets which bookmakers hate and many of which are run as loss leaders), the main one being tennis (with snooker and darts also popular), it is very easy for a corrupt competitor to place bets on his/her opponent, rather than laying themselves to lose on the exchanges.

The fact that there are 1000's of online bookmakers worldwide means that two competitor events will always be open to abuse from potential match fixers.

MoU's with Betfair, et al are of course very useful, but if a corrupt player wanted to make bucket loads of cash by loosing a match they would be better off with traditional bookies.

Anonymous said...

It is important to keep this matter in context. Snooker has perhaps one or two matches per season that arouse suspicion - tennis and horseracing attract such irregularities on a regualr basis. i am surprised, given the paucity of prize money in snooker, that is doesnt happen more often. When it does, as appears to have happened here, the matter should be properly and independently investigated. We shouldnt have P.Ebdon on the board investigating a match involving ermmm P.Ebdon, should we?