This blog can reveal that John Higgins may not return to the circuit until next February despite his suspension ending in November.

It was widely assumed Higgins would be back for the UK Championship in December following the result of the tribunal convened as a result of a newspaper sting in which he was alleged to have agreed to lose frames for money.

The match fixing and bribery charges against Higgins were withdrawn and he was found guilty of failing to report an approach to match fix and bringing the game into disrepute.

He received a six month suspension, back dated to May since when he's been unable to play professionally, and was fined £75,000.

But Higgins has missed the closing date for entries for all tournaments until the Welsh Open in February.

The entry deadlines passed in July and the WPBSA will have to decide whether or not to grant him an exception.

He will be still be suspended when the entry dates close for the remaining Players Tour Championship events.

Higgins has already lost his no.1 spot in the world rankings and would be left with just the Welsh Open, China Open and World Championship to play in this season.

The suspension will have cost him the chance to play in four ranking tournaments, the Masters, the Premier League, 12 PTCs and the PTC grand finals, a total of 19 tournaments.

Some will argue that as his suspension ends in November Higgins should be allowed to play from that point.

Others will say he has already been treated leniently for what could have been a career ending offence.


Anonymous said...

REAL SHAME, thought the guy from the guardian blog you tweeted talked a lot of sense in regards to NOTW

Anonymous said...

rules are rules

if he ahd his suspencion quashed he should be allowed to play in november

but as the suspension wasnt quashed he should HAve to wait until february

Monique said...

Depending on the exception or not I guess it would make a lot of difference for Liu Song also.
He hasn't done too bad until now.
What will be his fate from now on? Will the points he's winned just go lost?

kimball said...

Don't see the rational in why Higgins couldn't applie to tournaments being played after his suspension because the closing date is in the timeframe where he is not allowed to play?!
Very Kafka and Commie thinking to me.

On another note.
JB seems wonderfully relaxed those days, as a weight is off his shoulders!

Eric said...

Don't understand why the closing date for The Masters entries has already passed in July? I mean, the top 16 players will be invited based on their ranking after the first revision in Otober so why having a deadline as early as July then?

Snookerfan4711 said...

I'm one of the others. I think he got of lightly already and I think there shouldn't be an exeption for him. But since the WBPSA was so nice to drop the charges because he's such a believable fellow they will undoubtetly take him back with their arms open wide... Unbelievable... *shakes her head*

Anonymous said...

Nobody can prove John hasn't told the truth so all these idiots carping on should shut their judgemental mouths

Anonymous said...

Has anyone even bothered to read the tribunal findings? Ian Mill QC said WPBSA was right to drop the charges - so even if Higgins had faced them he wouldn't have been found guilty

As usual people just believe what they want and think they know it all from their vantage points sat behind their computers, full of hate and indignation

Cloudyman said...

Seems the keyboard warriors are out in full force over this one.

I'd be very surprised if he wasn't to play, as now he has served his ban (and whether you like it or not, he has), I think tournaments will be richer for having the current world number one in them.

I'm guessing, when the commission put forward a 6-month ban, it was meant to be a ban from playing in tournaments, and not from registering - so I hope the snooker authorities see sense and admit him.

However, I'm sure plenty will disagree with me.

Anonymous said...

There is no way that Barry Hearn won't create an exception here, and make no mistake, Barry will have the final say. Imho.

Anonymous said...

why then did John not insist on charges being held so he could have the opportunity to be found not guilty?

Hate and indignation?.....why is that, because people look at the facts and give opinions that don't match your clear biast towards Johh Higgins.

Did you see the video or read the transcript?

Clearly you saw only what you wanted to see, whilst general snooker fans see those things you ignore.

Then you insult those fans for having an opinion....shame on you

kildare cueman said...

The issue here is not whether Higgins told the truth or not.

It has to be assumed that the decision was correct and we move on.

The issue is; When you are suspended, does this preclude you from
(a) entering tournaments, or
(b) just from playing.

If the answer is (a), then he must be left out.
If its (b), then he must be allowed enter belatedly as he obviously would have entered had he known he would be reinstated so soon.

WPBSA must, without personal reference to Higgins, decide on this ruling immediately, to ensure future scenarios(if any) are unambiguous.

The drawbacks to making this decision now, is that other players are brought into the equation, namely the players ranked 17 and 33.

On reflection, this is as good as any an example as any as to why active players or even managers shouldn't be on the board.

Peter Ebdon and Mike Dunn, both former board members may be perilously close to being ranked 17 and 33 at the cut off point.

The managers of Matthew Stevens and Mark Davis, either have been or are on the board. Both these players are just inside the provisional 16.

Anonymous said...

natural justice says John Higgins should be allowed to play from the UK championship on. Given the circumstances an exception should obviously be made as why should he have paid entry fees when suspended? how sad innocent until proven guilty did not apply here- if he is not allowed to play I suspect he could sue for restraint of trade.

Anonymous said...

Barry Hearn doesn't need to make a decision, the fairest thing to do would be to put it to a vote of the WPBSA members. If enough of them say yes, he's in and if not, then no. If Higgins has paid entry fees, and he is not allowed to paly in these events then give him the money back.

Betty Logan said...

The bribery and match-fixing charges were dropped because the World Series isn't a WSA event, so the WSA doesn't have any jurisdiction to level charges involving those events. The NOTW could have had footage of him carrying out a huge suitcase full of money and winking at the camera as he deliberately misses the balls, and the WSA still wouldn't have been able to charge him with match-fixing. All he has done as a WSA member is bring his organisation into disrepute, so ultimately that was all he was charged with along with not reporting an approach for match-fixing. Barry Hearn said the match-fixing charge was dropped following legal confirmation that Higgins would have had grounds to sue the WSA if they pursued that charge.

As for barring him from entering events that will take place after his suspension ends, it's likely this was taken into account when his ban was set.

Anonymous said...

If I had my way he would never play professional snooker again.Once a great champion and sportsman he showed total disrespect for the game that gave him the opportunity to become a multi-millionaire.To compound it all,since that fateful day in Kiev,he has treated the fans with utter contempt with the palpable nonsense he has been espousing since.

Anonymous said...

Monique - you are grossly missing the point.

Snookerfan4711 said...

@ Betty: The official reason for dropping the charges were these: ..."that Mr Higgins had truthfully accounted for his words and actions at the meeting in Kiev on 30 April"...
at least against Higgins. So can ypu post am link with your sorce, please? Makes it even more worse in my eyes "we couldn't hold the charges up because he would have sued as if we had..."

Anonymous said...

I presume you've seen all of the evidence that was put forward at the independent commission?
Otherwise you would have given John Higgins a lifetime ban based upon what you have seen on an edited video and read in a newspaper?

Anonymous said...

Of course he should be allowed to play in the UK on.

He will have served his ban, its only a technicality that prevented him from being able to enter whilst under suspension.

This is not about making an exception, its guaranteed that if he was not suspended he would have entered.
I think the rule should be amended so any suspended player at registration should be able to play in the event if their suspension ends before.

Betty Logan said...

This is what Barry Hearn said:

"According to Hearn, who backs the three-time world champion to return to the top levels of the sport, the charge of match-fixing was dropped on a technicality.

"It was felt that the match-fixing (charge) could be challenged legally because the matches involved were not under the auspices of World Snooker: it was an independent, private event," said Hearn.

"It fell outside the rules of the World Snooker Association.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/snooker/8983814.stm

Meanwhile, if anyone is interested in Quinten Hann's opinion on the verdict:


Anonymous said...

Quintan Hann was a toerag long before the match fixing. snooker is better off without him.

Anonymous said...

@Betty Logan:
This is not a full quote, you didn't include one vital point:

"Had that technicality not existed, they would have charged Mr Mooney with everything."

snookerfan4711 said...

@ Betty: thanks haven't read this one yet. It's getting better and better. Instead of dropping the case because John told the story so very believable they dropped the charges because he could have sued them? I wish I wouldn't know that.
This is the first crack in the shiny Barry - Hearn - Facade. For me at least.

Anonymous said...

Love the blog. So good to read the inside track instead of the endless speculation you get elsewhere.

CHRISK5 said...

Barry Hearn said the story has damaged John Higgins.....creating
any story about J.Higgins pre-May 2010 was nigh on impossible !

Higgins was a mere pawn in the whole charade.

To the casuals & primitives who take a vague interest in Snooker,
John Higgins has gained more publicity in 4 months than he did
in the previous 18 years as a professional.

A high profile return at the
Dec 2010 UK Championships OR the
Jan 2011 Masters must be on
the cards.

Betty Logan said...

@8.11 - If they couldn't charge Mooney with match-fixing because it was an independent event then it stands to reason they couldn't charge Higgins either. The inference from the trial comments is that Mooney would have been found guilty, and Higgins probably wouldn't have been, but people are asking why the charges were dropped instead of letting them stand and clearing Higgins, and that's obviously the reason.

@snookerfan - I don't think it's Hearn's fault that they had to drop the match-fixing charges, he can only apply WSA rules to the extent the law allows. If you ban someone from the game and that person sues and has the decision overturned in court, the WSA could face a multi-million pound payout which would surely bankrupt the game. Hearn does have a responsibility to not put the game in legal jeopardy; he's been quite frank about it though - he said the charges were dropped on a technicality, not because he doesn't think there is a case to be answered.

At least thanks to the transparency of the process we can see what decisions were made, and that's a huge step in the right direction compared to previous match-fixing cases. The most important thing of course is that the game's gambling partners are satisfied with how it has been handled.

Snookerfan4711 said...

@ Betty: "The most important thing of course is that the game's gambling partners are satisfied with how it has been handled."

Hm. Is it all about sponsors these days? How about us, the fans? How about anyone else who dedicates lifetime, money and energy to Snooker? I am not satisfied with this explanation for dropping the charges. And no matter how transparent it is, I'll stay unsatisgied in this matter.

Anonymous said...


The QC stated that he believed John's version of events and that it was therefore right to drop the most serious charge.