In the manipulation affair, the world snooker association banned two professionals from China for life and imposed severe sanctions on a further eight players from the country. The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) announced on Tuesday that Liang Wenbo and Li Hang have been banned from all competitions for life. Former Masters champion Yan Bingtao, the most famous of the ten professionals, is banned from participating in any snooker tournament until December 11, 2027. The other players received bans of between five years and four months and two years and eleven months.

The Disciplinary Committee is convinced that the Chinese professionals have manipulated games for the purpose of betting fraud. The investigations were launched following a warning from the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) to the WPBSA and Sportradar in August 2022. The players were suspended during the investigation. They were questioned about the allegations in personal hearings in late April and early May.

According to the association, Wenbo and Hang were identified as the masterminds and did not cooperate in the investigation. Bingtao, Lu Ning, Zhao Jianbo, Bai Langning, Chang Bingyu, Chen Zifan, Zhao Xintong and Zhang Jiankang have pleaded guilty and thus avoided longer bans.

“It was a very complex case,” said WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson. It was heartbreaking to see some talented young players break the rules under pressure from two experienced players. “This behavior has been recognized as totally unacceptable by the imposition of two lifetime bans from participating in recognized snooker tournaments,” Ferguson said, warning: “If a player is involved in rigging a snooker game, they will be caught and dealt with harshly.” calculate penalties.