The WPBSA have issued the following statement following the John Higgins tribunal:

A hearing under the auspices of Sport Resolutions UK on September 7 and 8, 2010, heard of charges which John Higgins admitted through his lawyers before the hearing. The charges were 1. Intentionally giving the impression to others that he was agreeing to act in breach of the betting rules, though it was accepted that he had no intention of throwing any frame of snooker for reward. 2. Failing to disclose promptly to the Association full details of an approach or invitation to act in breach of the betting rules

Having studied all of the evidence in its entirety, the WPBSA and Sports Resolutions accept that there has been no dishonesty on the part of John Higgins and accordingly the WPBSA has withdrawn the allegations of match fixing against him.

The judgement from Sport Resolutions was that John Higgins was banned from all World Snooker tournaments for six months, starting from the initial suspension on May 2, 2010, and ordered to pay a fine of £75,000 plus costs of £10,000.

The WPBSA referred the matter to the independent body Sport Resolutions following a Disciplinary Committee investigation into allegations made against John Higgins in the News of the World newspaper on May 2, 2010.

John Higgins has agreed to play a leading role in a new educational programme for snooker players, which will form part of the Integrity Unit to be set up by WPBSA Disciplinary Committee Chairman David Douglas.

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “John made a mistake in failing to report the meeting in Kiev. He has admitted this mistake and expressed great regret at what happened. The evidence, which has been exhaustively studied by David Douglas and Sport Resolutions, suggests that he was led into this situation and did not instigate any discussions of corrupt activity. It seems certain, in view of his previous record and the ambassadorial work he has done for snooker, that this was a mistake he will never repeat. I’m sure Sport Resolutions took these factors into account in coming to their verdict.

“The new educational programme will teach players, particularly the new professionals coming into the game, about the pitfalls associated with betting and make clear the standards expected by the WPBSA. John has suffered a devastating blow to his career and reputation, but he can come back from it – and he has pledged to help others learn from his experiences. The programme will be a key part of the Integrity Unit’s goal to proactively address any form of corruption and make our sport a standard bearer for sports integrity. Today’s outcome is a positive step towards this goal and, with the support of all the players, I fully believe that it will be achieved.”

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson added: "I am pleased to see this matter concluded in an open and transparent fashion, after a hearing staged by an independent body. I look forward to the creation of the anti-corruption unit, which will be in operation very shortly and will give the WPBSA the best possible assistance in our ambition to eliminate all forms of corruption from our sport. It is important now that snooker moves forward from this matter and focuses on the successful new era which has formed in recent months."

John Higgins was suspended immediately after the allegations were made public. His six-month ban is considered to have started from the date of his initial suspension in May 2010.

Pat Mooney has been permanently suspended from the WPBSA following the hearing.

The hearing heard of charges of 1. Intentionally giving the impression to others that he was agreeing to act in breach of the betting rules. 2. Failing to disclose promptly to the Association full details of an approach or invitation to act in breach of the betting rules

In summary, Mr Mill QC said: "Mr Mooney’s conduct is, in my judgment, of a completely different order of seriousness....I was unimpressed by Mr Mooney as a witness and I found much of his account highly implausible....he committed the most egregious betrayals of trust - both in relation to the Association, to which he owed fiduciary obligations as a Director and by reason of his great influence in the world of snooker, and to Mr Higgins whose entire career and professional future he inexplicably put at serious and wholly unjustifiable risk."

The WPBSA referred the matter to Sport Resolutions following a Disciplinary Committee investigation into allegations made against Mooney in the News of the World newspaper on May 2, 2010.


Anonymous said...

Excellent coverage, thanks for the updates

Eddie Ridley said...

Yes Dave you have done a fantastic job today.

Thanks very much for the updates.

Ali said...

Justice has been done.
I shall welcome back John with open arms.

Anonymous said...

OK. Now thats out of the way, can we sort out the website and live scoring or are they waiting for sports resolutions to sort that as well.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this will lead to amendments in the miss rule.

Irma Venedektinova said...

British media spoke so much about the right of Russia to hold the championship because of racial escapade of football fans, saying something about the level of culture and civilization.

Let's see how the rest of the world is better in this regard. For example - here we have a famous player talking about fixing frames and swallowing money for all to see, and he doesn't even get punished for bringing disrepute to his sport - on the grounds of being 'by nature someone who seeks to avoid confrontation or unpleasantness'(c) which now is the main proof that the person is not guilty.. I suppose that is a model of high level culture and civilization we should try to match. Great, no doubt.

But at least now we know how much the reputation of snooker means - 75000 in cash and half a year of vacation. Any player who can afford this and is by nature someone who seeks to avoid confrontation or unpleasantness is now invited to have fun with any regulation he likes. The precedent is set, and that's all that matters.
Great day for snooker, congratulations to all!

John McBride said...

Dave, is it not worth remembering the chain of events here to clean up any disparity that may remain on this decision, with John Higgins having all match fixing charges against him dropped?

John Higgins was knocked out by a rejuvenated Steve Davis on the Tuesday. The interview with the toilet paper in Kiev took place on the Friday of the same week. Had John Higgins won, he wouldn't have even been there in the first place!

Whether or not John Higgins was there, that interview with Pat Mooney would have gone ahead anyway, due to the toilet paper in question ensuring they get maximum exposure from that interview with Pat Mooney & with our World Final taking place on the same day they published this news. Do not let anyone kid themselves for one minute that John Higgins was the target here.

So, lets have a quick surmise.....

Wrong place at the wrong time? Yes.
A lesson to be learned? Yes.
Time to move on? Absolutely!

Anonymous said...

Really well done, Dave, laying out the facts and giving insightful comments.

FINALLY, this case is over. Regarding the reputation of John I find it difficult for him to repair this damage. Although he will be welcomed back by most, and recieve a great deal of sympathy, the whispers in the corners will remain forever. I have always loved John but now I see him in a different light. Was he really being honest? That thought is hard to put in the bin.

Shaun said...

As much as i like john higgins i cant believe a tougher stance as not been taken to ensure this is eradacated from the game.you have been lucky john make the most of the chance you have been given because im not sure if certain other players would have got it.i no it was different circumstances but how long did quinten hann get banned for?

Anonymous said...

More should be said about the video material. What did the investigators make of it, especially with regard to the editing and the supposed mystery voice? In what ways did NotW help them or rather, hinder the investigation? That is what I am curious about because I believe it is the key to the truth about John's involvement (which may be exactly as he claims).

Betty Logan said...

The circumstances weren't that different for Hann were they? Both were tabloid newspaper stings and both caught on camera agreeing to fix a match for money. I'm glad a stitch-up hasn't ended John's career, but it finished Hann's and I think maybe that decision should be revisited.

Anonymous said...

Yeah i agree! Get Quinten Hann back!

Betty Logan said...

Dave, can you clarify the reason why two of the charges were "withdrawn" during the trial, or at least what "withdrawn" means in this context? Did the WSA use its own discretion to withdraw them or did Sport Resolutions recommend that they be withdrawn? If they had no basis why couldn't they let them stand and let the judge find him "not guilty" on those two charges?

Anonymous said...

The Hann case was different. He didn't show up for his case and was therefore considered guilty and received maximum penalty. Had he cooperated he probably would have got a much shorter ban.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Shaun here, I am a John Higgins fan and I am delighted he will be back playing again although question marks will hang over his head for the rest of his career. He still hasn't explained why he didn't report the NOTW stitch up to Hearn.The toughest battle of Higgins life begins now. Good luck John.


John McBride said...

Correction to my previous comment on here....

Had John Higgins beat Steve Davis on the Saturday, he would have gone onto play Neil Robertson on the Tuesday & Wednesday, with the sting taking place on the Friday.

I just wanted to clear that up. Thanks.

John McBride

Anonymous said...

One has to ask - who pays Sports Resolution's professional fees and therefore is able to, shall we say, define the 'objectives' of the hearing? To what extent was the withdrawal of the most serious charges against John simply part of the desired 'resolution'? As world number one, John's continuance at the top level of snooker is probably in World Snooker's commercial interests, especially after all of the publicity this case has generated in the media.

JIMO96 said...

I feel very sorry for John Higgins, but agree that the punishment fits the crime. When he first set up World Series with Mooney, I was a bit surprised that a family man such as he could commit to such a venture, but was (and still am) full of praise for him as someone who was attempting to take the game forward.

I think however, that the one big criticism of World Series (the inability of local wildcards to avoid humiliation) placed a commercial pressure on Higgins and Mooney, and I raised an eyebrow at one or 2 of Higgins' results in which "unknowns" enjoyed some success against him. In the 2009-10 season, he beat Irish amateur Andrew Gray 5-1 in an event in Killarney (although he wasn't the only pro to drop frames against an amateur that week), but more alarmingly, he "only" won 5-1 against Lukas Krenek, a Czech amateur in the Prague event. All other professionals involved in matches against amateurs won 5-0.

I have to ask, is it really such a crime to drop a frame "deliberately" in a non-ranking event, in a "new" snooker city, to one of the local players, in the interests of stimulating local fans' excitement or sponsors' attentions?

I think that could have been Higgins' way of thinking at the time.

As far as other interested parties go:

(i) Bookmakers....their greed knows no bounds; if they are willing to lay prices on single frames of what is no more than an exhibition tournament, then they deserve to get their fingers burnt. As an ex employee of the betting industry, I know that their ruthless pursuit of profitable betting opportunities is blinkered in the extreme, and it manifests itself in the way they throw their toys out of the pram as soon as someone wants to play for real money (Ebdon-Wenbo, Maguire-Burnett). Most bookmakers offer prices on "first colour to be potted" in snooker matches(!) Can they not see how open to manipulation a market like this can be??? The cricket stories lately have at least turned attentions elsewhere, but they are essentially the same bookmaker behavioural traits.

(ii) News of the World...seriously, find another way to sell your filthy rag. They sholud be investigated for their disgusting entrapment and subsequent over-sensationalising of "non-stories", which they then have the cheek to manipulate and edit to deceive their own readership.

I hope this sorry episode will not signal the start of a slump in John Higgins' form, and that he puts himself in position for a swift retention of his number one ranking. I also hope the British public and the crowds at the UK and subsequent tournaments go easy on him.

Anonymous said...

Alpha - he got home on Friday night. The reporters were at his door Saturday afternoon.

How do you know he wouldn't have reported it?

Anonymous said...


He could have sent an email or a message to Hearn or anyone at World Snooker whilst on the plane home telling them what happened, that way he covers himself.


Dave H said...

Ian Doyle, father of Lee, who is chairman of 110sport, has got in touch to deny any suggestion they were involved in this affair - not that anyone has suggested that on this blog.

"We don't get involved in such things as a family. We believe it was someone not involved in snooker," he said.

Anonymous said...

Would John even have a fair case on his hands if he went on to sue? Intimidation can't change the words that were exchanged in the Kiev meeting so could he win a potential court battle against NotW?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Higgins left Cuemasters after falling out with them, is he back now with them (110 sport?)

Also I noticed O'Sullivan is represented by them...But he is managed by Grove? So who are they with?

Thanks, Joe

Anonymous said...

Hann is obviously a livewire. He lived in Park Lane and drived sports cars and occassionaly in the past and now he seems to suggest wealth be it his or family money. But he said he couldn't afford from memory the 40k in legal fees needed to defend the claim so he resigned. Higgins should have been banned for 12 months basically. Though the 250k cost to him when you add up fine, costs, his own costs, lost prize money etc is not to be sniffed at.

John McBride said...

Dave, If I can be so bold to ask, is there any chance you can do me a favour please?

The Eurosport logo, which appears on the top right hand corner of our screens, is over the green pocket. Any chance you could use your influence & ask the graphic designers to move it a tad, a tad right & up would be nice. Perfect in fact.

A couple of times today, & once yesterday, the logo, as nice looking as it is, prevented us from seeing, well me anyway, where the players were trying to leave the cue ball when playing safe, as colour (s) were over beside the green pocket.

I appreciate we have Snooker back on our screens, genuine, I just want to know & see exactly what is happening.

With Thanks & meant in Sport,

John McBride

Anonymous said...

Nice of Ian Doyle to clear that one up for us.
Assume someone out of snooker was attempting to discredit Pat Mooney then?
Sounds a bit random.

Anonymous said...

If only John Higgins used Mr Hey You`s fine art method,all this fuss could have been avoided! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

it was my understanding that the World Series of Snooker was included in Barry Hearn's proposal along with Brandon Parker's events.

Both were to receive £150,000 each to help fund 4 events each.

The tournaments held by Higgins, Mooney and WSS were to issue ranking points based on attendance and performance.

This was the reason, was it not, that Messers' Mooney and Parker were appointed to the board?

If this is the case, how can Barry Hearn then claim that Higgins and Mooney had charges dropped due to a technicality.

The technicality is alleged to be the fact that these tournaments were independent from the World Snooker calendar and World Snooker had no control or power relating to these events.

It was felt that the match-fixing charges could have been legally challenged by Mooney and Higgins due to the interdependent nature of their tour, yet this tour formed part of the published EPT/WPT

I am confused, as I am sure many others will be by this apparent statement by Barry Hearn.

Did the tribunal have sight of Barry's masterplan, or was the fact brushed over that the matches to be fixed were in a ranking and World Snooker sponsored tour, arranged by a Director of World Snooker and The World Snooker number 1.

Love to hear everyone's thoughts on this matter

Dave H said...

The charges were dropped because they believed Higgins's explanation, as did the tribunal chair

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

ref 12.03, i think you will find several statements from those involved confirming the dropping of the charges was a technicality and NOT because they believe all of the arguments.

You don't want to comment fully then Dave....fair enough, your blog after all., but at least those reading my post will now know the true facts.

IF THEY BELIEVED HIGGINS THEN HE WOULD HAVE BEEN FOUND NOT GUILTY and surely he would have insisted on being found NOT GUILTY.

Charges being withdrawn is not the same as not guilty and leaves doubt in peoples minds, especially those who understand what has happened.

Why did John not insist on the charges being heard, giving him the chance to clear himself and indeed then seek damages.

There are intelligent people out there Dave and none of this makes sense, especially when taken objectively.

Problem is, when people are objective they accused of being hate mongers or trouble makers.

READ THE REPORT from QC and listen to Barry Hearn.....he says it was a technicality and I think he is closer to all this allowing factual statements to be made.

There was NO 'not guilty' verdicts at this tribunal, none whatsoever, despite what those with clouded judgement and little knowledge choose to believe.

At the end of the day this judgement does no favours for John Higgins at all. He is now open to abuse and the word 'whitewash' is being banded around and at the end of the day what really happened will continue to be questioned despite the outcome the other day.

Better the charges had stood and Higgins stood up and defended himself.....in my opinion.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

interesting interview with Barry Hearn for your information


jamie brannon said...

I get the feeling from the tone of your articles, that you do not believe Higgins explanation. I may be reading too much into it though.

Personally, I think none of us can be sure, but from what I have seen of the video footage he doesn't look to afraid, however, I will be treating him no different if I went to watch him as he just doesn't strike me as the sort of guy to get into these corrupt practices.

Anonymous said...

1.38 clearly has their own agenda

Wouldn't surprise me if they gave 110% into getting Higgins into this mess to start with

Anonymous said...

reference 4:22

Clearly you have YOUR OWN agenda as you think anyone who states the facts of the matter is in some way responsible for John Higgins sitting in a hotel....sober...working out that the best way to accept his bribe is to pay off the mortgage on his Spanish apartment,,,,,,,,quick thinking for some one in fear of his safety in a strange country!!

For the record...John Higgins and Pat Mooney have a long association with Russia having visited many times, held a tournament there....oh and did I mention that their business partner Adrian Stewart was based in Moscow for many years and married to a Russian lady.....he was the director of IMS should you wish to Google readers.

God help anyone who considers the situation without emotion as they will be accused and abused.

Oh.....and finally...there is no suck thing as 110%. Its not mathematically possible....a bit like the £261,000 bribe