In response to my post earlier today, the WPBSA has finally issued a statement about the betting irregularities surrounding the Stephen Maguire v Jamie Burnett first round match at the Maplin UK Championship in Telford.

It reads:

"The WPBSA is committed to taking all steps within its power to protect the integrity of the sport of snooker. To that end, the WPBSA has strict rules in place prohibiting its members from betting on matches or fixing any aspect of a match. It takes all of the steps available to it to police and enforce those rules, including working with its contacts at the Gambling Commission, as well as putting information-sharing arrangements in place with bookmakers.

"At approximately 4.50 pm on Friday 12 December, the WPBSA received a telephone call from a bookmaker, reporting an unusual pattern of bets on Stephen Maguire to beat Jamie Burnett by a frame score of 9 - 3 in a match due to take place on Sunday 14 December.

"The WPBSA immediately notified its other bookmaker contacts, so that the bookmakers could alert the industry and obtain feedback in relation to bets placed on the match. It also arranged for World Snooker officials to attend and observe the match in question, and secured tapes of the match afterwards for further study.

"Now that the match has been played, the WPBSA will move forward with a formal investigation. It has already instructed specialist external legal counsel to assist it in pursuing the investigation robustly and efficiently, so as to protect the integrity of the sport while at the same time respecting its obligation to treat those being investigated fairly.

"As part of the investigation, information will be gathered from all pertinent parties, including the players themselves, the match officials, the bookmakers, and others, in order to determine, based on the available evidence, whether or not there is a case to answer for breach of the WPBSA's rules. If it is determined that there is a case to answer, the WPBSA will pursue it vigorously.

"Once a decision has been reached, the WPBSA will announce it. Until that time, it will not comment further on the matter, so as to avoid prejudice to the process or the people involved. In the meantime, anyone with relevant information is invited to contact the WPBSA immediately."

This statement should have been issued earlier but I give credit to the governing body that it was issued at all and for the information contained within it.

I am encouraged that the WPBSA will announce the result of its investigation, as it does not normally release the findings of its disciplinary committee.

However, Maguire and Burnett will be entitled to contrast the scrutiny their match is receiving with that of Peter Ebdon's 5-0 defeat to Liang Wenbo at this season's Northern Ireland Trophy.

On this occasion, the WPBSA were notified of suspicious betting patterns on a 5-0 victory for Liang over Ebdon, a WPBSA board member.

Where is the investigation into this?


Anonymous said...

The evidence world snooker will be presented with for the Maguire-Burnett match will not be too different from what they've had to work with concerning Ebdon-Wenbo.
In fact, on the face of it, the match in Telford looks less of a case than the qualifier for the NIT.
Which makes it appear - although of course, this could never be the case - that it's easier to chase a couple of Jocks who have been on the telly, than a Board member of world snooker and someone who comes from arguably your biggest overseas market.
Again, world snooker would never be seen to be that biased or blatant in trying to brush something under the carpet.
Would they?

Anonymous said...

The only right thing is to scrap the market for correct scores.
In general it is like a taxed lottery but it sure opens up avenues for matchfixing.

The Burnett case seems actually plausible as for 5-0 for Wenbo seems like a clever bet.

Anonymous said...

Kimball, there are a number of ways in which to influence the outcome of a match. Eliminating correct scorebetting would not solve the problem, merely move it on to another aspec eg handicap betting, total frames won etc. In the Ebdon match a variety of methods of wining money are alleged to have been used.

You can see this coming cant you - Burnett is expendable so will probably take the majority of the blame and the smoke generated from this investigation will obscure what was a far more serious event (in financial terms) namely the Ebdon saga. Pressure must be kept up on World Snooker to investigate this as well. Failure to do so would be double standards.

Anonymous said...

It seems the WSA are taking the brunt of the stick for this yet it should be remembered that it was the players who are allegedly at fault here.
The performance of Burnett looked fishy at best and in these days of internet betting, its highly likely that the truth will come out.
I am no fan of the WSA but how can they ever promote this sport when the players are attempting to ruin it?
They should however, also look into the Ebdon/Wenbo match too, if only to attempt to clear the otherwise good name of the 2002 World Champion.
So we should ban frame betting as it opens up avenues for matchfixing then?
I have never heard such rubbish in my life, and all that should happen is that the money grabbering cheats should be taken out of snooker for good or else the game will never move forward.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to meet a poor bookie- if they choose to offer someone odds on a particular event/score/happening they do so at their own risk knowing they are dealing with human beings here!

Anonymous said...

You've never met a poor William Hills, Ladbrokes, Corals but trust me the independent bookmaker is struggling big time at the moment.

Anonymous said...

for a start:-

increase the ranking points for each round by the amount of frames the loser gains. (it would not be too difficult to set up a model of what is gained for losing at any particular stage by however many frames). that way every frame means a difference in ranking points.

i know that wont help in all cases, but it could narrow down potential.

next id inform all bookmakers that its their responsiblity to handle the betting side of things. WS do not force them to do handicap betting, or frame scores etc.

if bookmakers only did result betting then coups like the supposed one here wouldnt happen. the only thing that could happen is match betting fixing. the odds involved in this make it a lot less potentially lucrative and also the odds would change so rapidly that not many would get on at bargain prices if they had inside info.

you will never stop the possibility of someone bending rules, but IMO id tell the bookmakers regulators that its them offering thses odds that are leading to the possibility of bent matches, and if they just kept it simple then thered be less potential. of course that wont happen as they make lots of money from it. the thing is the loss theyd make in a case like this (im not saying it was fixed) doesnt outweigh the profits over a few years between occurances of high magnitude.

so, if i was in charge of WS, id put the onus on the bookies to prove match fixing etc, and id keep the sport and its ranking rewards separate.

it may have consequences regarding possible sponsors etc but if it helps to distance the sport from potentially very harming situations then i am for it.

feel free to disagree. it is but my opinion. one i am entitled to, however few agree or disagree