18th of January 2023 – WPBSA statement regarding the ongoing Match Fixing Enquiry

This has just been published:

WPBSA Statement | 18 January 2023

Following a detailed investigation by the WPBSA Integrity Unit, working closely with Sportradar, the WPBSA has decided that ten snooker players have a case to answer in respect of the following alleged breaches of the WPBSA Conduct Regulations.

Liang Wenbo has been charged with being concerned in fixing matches and approaching players to fix matches on the World Snooker Tour, seeking to obstruct the investigation and failing to cooperate with the WPBSA investigation.

Li Hang has been charged with being concerned in fixing matches and approaching players to fix matches on the World Snooker Tour, seeking to obstruct the investigation and betting on snooker matches.

Lu Ning has been charged with fixing a match and being concerned in fixing matches and approaching a player to fix a match on the World Snooker Tour, seeking to obstruct the investigation and betting on snooker matches.

Yan Bingtao has been charged with fixing matches on the World Snooker Tour and betting on snooker.

Zhao Xintong has been charged with being concerned in fixing matches on the World Snooker Tour and betting on snooker.

Zhang Jiankang has been charged with fixing a match on the World Snooker Tour, failing to report approaches for him to fix matches and betting on snooker matches.

Chen Zifan has been charged with fixing matches on the World Snooker Tour.

Chang Bingyu and Zhao Jianbo have each been charged with fixing a match on the World Snooker Tour

Bai Langning has been charged with being concerned in fixing a match on the World Snooker Tour.

The players are currently suspended from attending and competing on the World Snooker Tour and in other WPBSA governed events until the conclusion of the hearing or hearings and the determination of this matter.

This matter will be referred to a formal hearing before an Independent Disciplinary Tribunal that will take place at a venue and on a date to be confirmed.

THE WPBSA Conduct Regulations

Part 1 WPBSA Conduct Regulations – Betting Rules 

  1. 2Betting and Corruption Misconduct 

2.1. It shall be a breach of these Rules for a Member to do any of the following: 

2.1.1.    Betting: 

2.1.1.1.   to place, accept, lay or otherwise make a Bet with any other person in relation to the result, score, progress, conduct or any other aspect of the Tour and/or any Tournament or Match in events sanctioned by the WPBSA or its affiliates

2.1.2. Corruption: 

2.1.2.1.  to fix or contrive, or to be a party to any effort to fix or contrive, the, score, progress, conduct or any other aspect of the Tour and/or any Tournament or Match 

2.1.2.4.   to solicit, induce, entice, persuade, encourage or facilitate any Member to breach any of the foregoing provisions of this paragraph 2.1.2.

2.1.4.1.  to engage in any other conduct (ie beyond that specified in paragraph 2.1) that is corrupt or fraudulent, or creates an actual or apparent conflict of interest for the Member, or otherwise risks impairing public confidence in the integrity and/or the honest and orderly conduct of the Tour and/or any Tournament or Match

2.1.5. Attempt or complicity: 

2.1.5.1. to attempt to act, or to agree with any other person (whether or not also a Member) to act, or to intentionally give the impression to any other person that the Member is attempting or agreeing to act in breach of these Rules

Part 1 WPBSA Conduct Regulations 

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.

4.4  Each Member shall co-operate with the WPBSA in any investigation carried out by the WPBSA under the provisions of these Rules including (but not limited to): 

4.4.1. providing a written statement setting out in detail all of the facts and circumstances with respect to any alleged breach 4.4.2. attending to answer questions and provide such information at a time and place determined by the WPBSA 4.4.3. providing to the WPBSA upon its request any documents, information or any other material of any nature whatsoever held by the Member and 

4.4.4. procuring and providing to the WPBSA upon its request any documents, information or any other material of any nature whatsoever not held by the Member which the Member has the power to obtain and 

4.4.5. providing the WPBSA with access to all records relating to the alleged breach. This includes, but is not limited to; betting accounts, bank records, telephone records, internet service records, social media accounts, email and other records stored on phones, tablets, electronic devices, computer

So… here we are.

Clearly Liang Wenbo and Li Hang should get very lengthy bans if a lifetime ban isn’t a realistic option in law.

I’m not entirely sure what “concerned” means in this context. Does it mean that they were aware of approaches or actual fixing and failed to report?

There are a variety of offences indeed. Apparently, Bai and Zhao Xintong did not fix any match. Chang Bingyu and Zhao Jianbo fixed just one match. The above does not say if they the were or may have been coerced into doing so.

The three older players are also (probably) guilty of obstructing the investigation.

It’s quite awful but at least it’s in the open and hopefully snooker can move on once the hearings are done and their outcome made public.