Sport Law

Liang Wenbo And Li Hang Receive Lifelong Bans for Snooker Match-Fixing

Due to their participation in snooker's largest match-fixing scandal, Chinese players Liang Wenbo and Li Hang received lifelong bans and were ordered to pay £43,000 in damages each.

Liang Wenbo And Li Hang Received Lifelong Bans Following The Snooker Match-Fixing Scandal.
Liang Wenbo And Li Hang Received Lifelong Bans Following The Snooker Match-Fixing Scandal.

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) has given eight further players, all of whom are Chinese, penalties that range from 20 months to five years and four months.

Allegations include match-fixing, snooker betting, approaching players to cheat, and game manipulation.

The 2021 Masters champion Yan Bingtao has been given a sentence that will last until December 2027, while past UK Championship victor Zhao Xintong is required to serve a punishment that will last until September 2024.

The verdicts are final, but all 10 participants have until June 20 to challenge them.

Jason Ferguson, president of the WPBSA, stated: "This has been a very complex case. It has been heartbreaking to see some young talented players fall foul of the WPBSA Conduct Regulations through pressure exerted by two senior players. 

"This behaviour has been recognised as wholly unacceptable by the imposition of two-lifetime bans from participating in recognised snooker in any way. 

"I am pleased that the commission found that they did not see from the present case any evidence of a wider culture of wrongdoing in snooker. 

"The WPBSA will continue its strong stance against those who try to manipulate sport, and today's outcome sends out a clear message that match-fixing will not be tolerated in snooker."

Punishments will act as 'strong deterrent' - analysis.

Snooker correspondent for BBC 5 Live, Jamie Broughton

The WPBSA has put much effort into investigating this complicated issue and will be pleased with the sanctions imposed.

Throughout the past ten years, the organisation has made clear that it is committed to looking into claims of corruption and bringing charges against anyone it finds to be at fault.

Although snooker has recently been the subject of some unfavourable press, the lifetime bans imposed on Liang Wenbo and Li Hang should serve as a solid deterrent to any players who might be tempted to engage in match-fixing.

The saddest part of this story for many snooker fans is how two of China's best stars, Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong, got involved. Both athletes have been mentioned as future world champions.

It will now be questioned whether the snooker authorities throughout the world can do more to inform young players about the risks of corruption.

What were the judgements and penalties?

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Liang Wenbo
Li Hang

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