Chinese Players Under Investigation for Match-Fixing in Snooker

Liang Wenbo banned for life as a result of fixing matches (Team Grove)

Despite a swirling controversy of alleged match-fixing and betting improprieties, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) has taken action by suspending two additional Chinese players.

This latest move brings the total number of implicated Chinese players to 10, marking a remarkable escalation in the ongoing investigation.

In a formal statement released recently, the WPBSA announced the immediate suspension of Zhao Xintong, a 25-year-old former UK Championship winner, and Zhang Jiankang, aged 24. Both players are now prohibited from participating in any World Snooker Tour events and are barred from attending as spectators.

Snooker charges (Team Grove)

The suspensions come as part of a comprehensive inquiry into allegations of match manipulation for betting purposes, which the WPBSA contends violates its strict Conduct Regulations.

Zhao and Zhang have been granted the right to appeal these suspensions, which will remain in effect until the investigation concludes or further actions are taken.

Zhao Xintong, currently ranked 9th globally and widely regarded as a rising star in snooker, will seriously miss the upcoming Masters tournament in London, a major blow to his competitive career.

The investigation, which has entered an advanced phase, has also implicated several other prominent Chinese players, including Liang Wenbo, a former world No. 11, and Yan Bingtao, the 2021 Masters champion, who were previously suspended. However, specific details regarding the allegations and their origins have not been publicly disclosed by the WPBSA.

Responding to these developments, the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association issued a stern statement condemning any form of match manipulation, gambling, or actions that undermine the integrity of sports. The association pledged to impose further penalties based on the outcome of the WPBSA’s investigation.

Snooker, a sport akin to pool but played on a larger table with specific rules, has historically been dominated by players from the UK and US.

In recent years, however, the sport has gained immense popularity in China, coinciding with the emergence of talented Chinese players who have made serious strides on the international stage.