The good, the bad and the ugly … news

Ok … let’s start with the good news

Ronnie was on twitter again yesterday with this:

ROS TWITTER 2018-10-12 at 08.53.06

Ok, of course he isn’t n° 132 in the world, he’s third. He’s n° 132 in the one year list very simply because he hasn’t played, and won, a single “ranking” match yet this season. Hopefully that will change on Monday. What made me smile here are the banter between Ronnie and his Nemesis Elliott Slessor and the fact that Ronnie seems to be stimulated by the idea of winning a tournament from the very bottom in the rankings. Go for it!

Now the bad news is this, published by WPBSA

Following a WPBSA investigation into alleged breaches of the WPBSA Rules by David John, a decision has been taken today that Jamie Jones has a case to answer.

The allegation is that Jamie Jones was party to, or facilitated the manipulation of the outcome of David John’s match with Graeme Dott that was played at the International Championship Qualifiers in Preston on 29th September 2016.

Jason Ferguson, the Chairman of the WPBSA has taken the decision to suspend Jones from attending or competing on the World Snooker Tour with immediate effect. This suspension will remain in place until the conclusion of the hearing or hearings and the determination of this matter. Jones has the right to appeal his decision.

The WPBSA would like to make it clear that no matches played by Jamie Jones are under suspicion in this matter.

The matter will be referred to the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee where a formal hearing will take place at a venue and date to be confirmed.

WPBSA Rules extracts

Section 2 – Betting Rules

  1. Betting misconduct
    • Corruption:  to fix or contrive, or to be a party to any effort to fix or contrive, the result, score, progress, conduct or any other aspect of the Tour and/or any Tournament or Match;  to seek or accept or offer or agree to accept any bribe or other reward to fix or to contrive in any way or otherwise to influence improperly the result, score, progress, conduct or any other aspect of the Tour and/or any Tournament or Match;  to solicit, induce, entice, persuade, encourage or facilitate any Member to breach any of the foregoing provisions of this paragraph 2.1.2.

WPBSA Members Rules

 Reporting Breaches

4.1   In the event that a Member is approached or solicited in any way (whether directly or indirectly) to influence the outcome or conduct of any game of snooker or billiards whether or not in return for payment or any other form of remuneration or benefit (an “Approach”), that Member (the “Reporting Member”) shall report such an Approach to the WPBSA (via the Company Secretary or a Tournament Official) as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event not later than 24 hours after any such Approach being made. Further, the Reporting Member shall provide the WPBSA (via the Company Secretary or a Tournament Official) with all information in his or her knowledge relating to the Approach and shall co-operate in any subsequent investigation and/or other action(s) arising out of such a report.

4.2   Any Member becoming aware of an Approach (as defined in clause 4.1 above) being made to another individual shall report such Approach to the WPBSA (via either the Company Secretary, a Tournament Official or the Anti Corruption Hotline) as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event within 24 hours of becoming aware of such Approach.

The full WPBSA Members Rules can be viewed here.

Going by the wording, Jamie Jones isn’t actually under investigation for fixing matches himself, but rather for not having reported a case of match fixing that he was aware of, and even to having been part in it, likely by facilitating the meeting between David John and the fixers. David John at the time was certainly in a very bad position financially – he had won next to nothing – and it may be that Jamie Jones just wanted to “help” him, in which case he’s been both terribly naïve and terribly out of order. The fact that he has been suspended immediately suggests that there is  more than just not reporting an approach.

The ugly part in this is that there doesn’t seem to be any way to stop it, despite the players being caught and punished and that’s because punishing the players doesn’t tackle the roots of the issue. When you read/hear that players under investigation have been beaten, that their flat are being arsoned, that their families are being threatened it’s obvious that the problem extends well beyond the guilty individuals, who are, at least in some cases, victims as well as culprits. And, quite honestly, I can’t see how it can be tackled. Of course, inflicting a lengthy ban to a player might well mean that you won’t see him play as a pro again, but then, the “mafias”, the underground organisers of match fixing, will just target someone else, likely someone they can pressure and scare into it, someone vulnerable who won’t dare to talk.