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Snooker: Yan Bingtao suspended as betting scandal sprawls

December 12, 2022

The sport's governing body said Yan was suspended with "immediate effect" and was part of an ongoing probe manipulating results.

Former snooker champion Yan Bingtao
China's Yan Bingtao has become the latest person to be suspended amid allegations of match-fixingImage: Isaac Parkin/empics/picture alliance

Former Masters snooker champion, China's Yan Bingtao, has been suspended from the World Snooker Tour amid a widening investigation into allegations of match-fixing.

"WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson has taken the decision to suspend Yan Bingtao from attending or competing on the World Snooker Tour with immediate effect," the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) said in a statement.

It's the seventh such suspension against a Chinese player in a matter of weeks on suspicion of manipulating games for the benefit of gamblers. 

This does not necessarily have to involve losing matches on purpose. Past cases, for instance, have involved heavily favored players accepting money in return for ensuring that they at least lose a certain number of frames during a match they ultimately win against an inferior player.

Suspension part of probe into rigged games

The sport's governing body went on to say: "This decision is part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of manipulating the outcome of matches for betting purposes in breach of the WPBSA Conduct Regulations."

Yan, who is 22 years old, beat Scotland's John Higgins last year to become the youngest Master's champion in the past 26 years.

Yan is the latest Chinese player to become embroiled in the match fixing scandal. Last week, five of his countrymen — Lu Ning, Li Hang, Zhao Jianbo, Bai Langning and Chang Bingyu — were also suspended pending the outcome of a probe into the allegations.

The sport is no stranger to betting scandals. Perhaps most famously, British player Steven Lee was given a 12-year ban in 2013 as a result of match fixing in 2008 and 2009. Four-time world champion John Higgins faced a much more lenient six-month suspension in 2010 after his agent had offered to make him intentionally lose frames while speaking, as it transpired, to a British undercover tabloid reporter.

Snooker is among the most popular sports in China, and the country has generated a large generation of talented professionals over the last decade or two. Roughly 20 of the world's top 100 players hail from China, and more idenfity as coming from Hong Kong or Taiwan.

Yan Bingtao is currently China's second-highest rated player, after world number 9 Zhao Xintong.

kb/msh (Reuters , AFP, AP)