Only John Higgins knows for sure how much he knew and what his intentions were when he went into that hotel room in the Ukraine but his decision to discuss match fixing with people he didn't know has cost him the reputation he worked so hard to earn.

The WPBSA and Ian Mill QC have believed his version of events and he will be back playing in November.

However, involvement in a story like this is not forgotten and Higgins knows many will remain unconvinced by his account of events.

Higgins got into snooker when his father, John senior, took him and his brothers to a local club.

He displayed talent for the game but nothing that suggested he would be a world beater until, at 15, Alan McManus took him under his wing and improvements rapidly followed.

In January 1991, still a few months from his 16th birthday, Higgins beat Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Williams in winning the junior title at the World Masters in Birmingham.

All three turned professional the following year and would soon come to dominate the sport.

Higgins won his first ranking title at 19 when he beat Dave Harold in the final of the 1994 Grand Prix.

He quickly became the first player to win three ranking titles as a teenager and captured the World Championship for the first time in 1998.

Higgins spent two years as world no.1 before being replaced by Mark Williams.

In 2001, he won the first three titles of the season and then became a father for the first time.

Coming from a close family, he took to fatherhood to the extent that his focus on snooker became less intense and he suffered a few fallow periods in the years that followed.

But there were great moments too, few better than his stunning 64 clearance to win the deciding frame of the 2006 Wembley Masters final against O'Sullivan.

When Higgins first won the world title everyone - himself included - assumed he would win it again. It put him under pressure and he failed to reach the quarter-finals for four straight years until beating mark Selby 18-13 in their 2007 Crucible final.

Then in 2009 he beat Shaun Murphy 18-9 to win it for a third time.

His capture of the Welsh Open crown last season gave the Scot his 21st ranking title.

Included in that haul are two UK Championships and he has also won the Masters, the game's premier invitation title, on two occasions.

As a person Higgins is open, friendly and has been a good ambassador for the sport as snooker fans who have met him will attest to.

Higgins is one of the greatest players of all time but his biggest battle will be to rebuild his reputation, which is battered and bruised despite today's verdict.

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