Friday 23 February 2018

Snooker: John Higgins match fixing allegations timeline

April 24 2010: Higgins loses 13-11 to Steve Davis in the second round of the World Championship.

April 30: Together with his agent Pat Mooney, Higgins meets with a reporter posing as a businessman in Kiev. During the course of a conversation regarding the setting up of a tournament in Ukraine, the News of the World allege Higgins agrees to lose four particular frames in future matches in return for €300,000.

May 2: The News of the World publish their allegations on the day the World Championship final begins, with the front-page headline 'Snooker champ Higgins bribes scandal'.

Higgins is suspended pending an investigation by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association but protests his innocence, saying in a statement: "Those who know me are aware of my love for snooker and that I would never do anything to damage the integrity of the sport I love. My conscience is 100pc clear."

Mooney is ordered by chairman Barry Hearn to resign as a board member of the WPBSA.

Hearn pledges the investigation will be carried out "as quickly as possible", adding: "Clearly if allegations were founded you would be talking about a very, very, very lengthy ban."

May 3: Hearn admits "it doesn't look good" for Higgins on the basis of the News of the World's video of the Kiev meeting.

Addressing a press conference at the Crucible, Hearn says: "There's temptations in life for everybody but our sporting heroes have to be whiter than white. They have to be totally cleansed of anything like this."

May 4: WPBSA board member David Douglas, a former Metropolitan Police detective chief superintendent, meets with News of the World management to arrange access to the full unedited video of the meeting which involved Higgins and Mooney.

Hearn explains: "He's established contact with them. Dave is not the jury or judge. He's the head of discipline and he's preparing a file of the facts for submission to an independent panel."

May 9: The News of the World quote an unnamed former Ladbrokes employee who claimed Higgins had tried to bet against himself during the World Championship final versus Shaun Murphy.

Higgins releases a new statement, in which he says: "I have been accused in the media of cheating; I have been accused of planning to fix snooker matches. To both of those charges, I am 100pc innocent."

June 25: World Snooker reveal the Higgins case will be heard by Sports Resolutions, a London-based independent dispute resolution service. The hearing is set for September 7-8.

September 8: Higgins is handed a six-month suspension and fined £75,000 (€90,000) after admitting "intentionally giving the impression to others that they were agreeing to act in breach of the betting rules" and failing to report the matter to World Snooker.

The more serious charges of "agreeing or offering" to accept bribes and "agreeing to engage in corrupt or fraudulent conduct" were withdrawn by the association following the two-day hearing in London.

Press Association

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