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.