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Sports Resolutions accept that there has been no dishonesty on the part of John Higgins and accordingly the WPBSA has withdrawn the allegations of match fixing against him.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.