John Higgins is likely to have his professional status suspended today while the WPBSA's new head of disciplinary affairs looks into the News of the World story that has stunned the game.

David Douglas, a former Metropolitan Police chief superintendent, has been in the job for barely a month but will now have to deal with what is potentially the biggest scandal ever to hit snooker.

WPBSA chairman Barry Hearn today told BBC Radio 5 Live that Higgins is likely to be suspended providing the constitution of the governing body allows it.

Hearn said: “I’m absolutely mortified by it. I’ve known John Higgins for a long, long time. Pat Mooney is a co-director of the WPBSA and it’s come as a huge shock.

“It’s an enormous blow to the integrity of the sport, which is vital to the expansion plans we have. It’s been a shattering experience and one that will be immediately looked into by our disciplinary process.

“The fact is, this has come at the worst possible time. We have a showpiece final on BBC television and to millions of people around the world and this casts a shadow over that event.

“I’ve read the piece. I’ve seen the video. I can’t see any reason not to suspend him.

“Once the integrity of the sport is taken away from the public perception, and we’ve seen it to an extent in athletics where people think, wrongly, that everyone is taking performance enhancing drugs, it affects the mindset of the population.

“This particular story has the potential to affect the integrity of the entire sport.

“Anyone found guilty has no part in the game in the future and there’s a hell of a rebuilding job to ensure this is not widespread within the game.

“I don’t see any place in any sport for anyone who affects the credibility of the sport.”

Hearn added that he is now considering his own position as chairman of the governing body.


Trophymad said...

There it goes! The death of Snooker itself seemes to be closer then ever. I can hardly withstand my fear of losing the sport i love so much but there's one thing that keeps me from giving Snooker up: It's only ONE Player. Sure, it's unfortunetly the number one Player but he's the only one and it never targeted the Main Tour. So people shouldn't start giving up on Snooker yet, please! Think about it, take a deep breath and give this time to unfold. Even if John and Patrick did what the video says it still are only two Person out or... over a hundred! Let's deal with them and get back to "normalety" afterwards... If Hearn leaves it's over anyways :-( I wouldn't even blame him. Rejuvinating Snooker would have been a tought job wihtout the scandal. Now it seems to be nearly impossible.

Maija said...

Whilst I myself cannot find a way to somehow believe that Higgins and Mooney are innocent, at least Hearn should give them a chance to have their say. A fair trial and all that.

I do agree that a suspension is the right way to tackle this until further investigations can take place, but to one-sidedly condemn it and the people involved in capacity of being the chairman and saviour of snooker is unprofessional.

What a sad day for snooker :(

Janie Watkins said...

Hearn just been on Talksport - saying "Hell hath no fury like a Chairman scorned" You haven't even begun to see my fury

Mooney has resigned

Anonymous said...

I can't see any way back from this. Higgins will never play the game again and snooker in in tatters :(

Dzierzgul said...

Very sad indeed. I don't think snooker's future is doomed (and it may even be a great chance for Barry Hearn to shake things up) but surely something will change - if only because one of the greatest players ever may suddenly be gone.

In WSS matches top players have always played their second or even third best games. I'm absolutely not suggesting that it's because of match fixing. It's just that because WSS isn't taken as seriously as main tour events. So Higgins may have thought, that this little deal isn't that big a thing. Which, of course, only mean that he's done worse than to commit a crime - he acted stupid.

I still hope NOTW exagerated this all and Higgins will somehow be able to come out of this and remain professional player. As I say, there may be a chance for snooker here (and many depends on Higgins' reaction to all this, which he shouldn't delay). But it's tremendously sad, that there's a possibility that, at the end of the day, John Higgins, tremendous player, might have thrown his career down the gutter out of sheer stupidity. No matter what, his name will probably be forever linked to this scandal.

And, apart from all this, go Robertson!

Anonymous said...

Hearn calling for "harsh and brutal" punishments if allegations are proved. If true then it's bye, bye Higgins.

Anonymous said...

To me it is: Higgins will never play the game again :)

colinmcd said...

As a lifelong fan, I am truly shocked to read today's news. This is disgraceful behaviour from the world number one and his manager, willing to gamble £300k for a snooker career!

I think the Davis defeat will now turn out to be John's last match at the Crucible. John will surely be banned from the sport for a meaningful number of years, meaning a lack of ranking points. With the lack of match practice he will struggle to play at the same level as he can today. I think that this scandal will cost John his reputation and 80% of what he would have earned over the rest of his playing career.

A sad day for snooker.

Barry should stay in charge and try and secure the future of the sport.

Betty Logan said...

How come Higgins has been suspended? Hann wasn't suspended, and Maguire and Burnett are going to be prosecuted and they haven't been suspended. Stephen Lee is out on bail and hasn't been suspended. Why the inconsistency?

Anonymous said...

And they call O'Sullivan the bad boy of snooker!! tut tut Mr Higgins!!

Anonymous said...

to the person who said that its only 2 people out of 100

well, this particular case may be, but if you believe that is the case overall then youre living in your own little bubble.......

Anonymous said...

I am sure the Hearn detractors will be pleased with this news.
I assume the NOTW researchers were independent and not there to set up Mooney and Higgins for other reasons?

Anonymous said...

I think the recent match between Higgins and Steve Davis needs serious investigation after this revelation

moondan said...

I think this breaking news is as bad for snooker as was the appointment of Hearn.
How gullible so many are.

Anonymous said...

It has a lot of further repercussions IMO. Barry Hearns plans included three, or is it four, events to be arranged via Mooney. Hearn said that if he did not deliver then he would hand it back and walk away. It's fallen at the first hurdle surely! Come on Mooney, you were full of it a few weeks ago by responding on this blog with lots of positives. Where are you now????

Anonymous said...

In response to BETTY LOGAN (12.50pm).

Maybe the evidence Barry Hearn already has has convinced him to suspend JOhn straight away.

Maybe the evidence against Maquire, Burnett and Lee is not as obvious as being caught clearly on tape discussing throwing frames, laundering money, faking sponsorship and confirming the figure of 300,000 euros cash, just before having a good old Vodka toast with his new buisness partners..........all whilst being confused, pressured and in fear of his own safety.

What a performace

Time of honesty by those involved and those following this story.

Alan Macmanus confirmed on BBC Radio Saturday morning around 1140, that Higgins has admitted to matchfixing in a tournament in Asia!

Its there on Iplayer for all to read (Off the ball - 6 minutes to 7 minutes into the programme.

Thats his statement destroyed now so its time to be honest, get as far away from LOADSAMOONY as he can and be a man. Mooney will attach himself to Higgins and ruin whats left of his integrity

Mooney set this up, Mooney had two previous meetings with these people.

What a way to behave?

Hope Mooney's family are proud of him.

Me?? I feel sorry for John for being dragged into this by LOADSAMOONY, but at the end of the day, he could have said NO

He could have reported it

He could still be honest and try to move forward.

£261,000 is a huge amount of money for anyone, despite the perception of their earnings.


kimball said...

To contemplate a set up in the last
three frames of O'Sullivan- Tian Pengfei is a bit to scary but there
were a lot of money to make and the
perfect settings.

As long as there are livebetting on frames, the risk for fraud will be
So maybe live framebetting should be banned?