The controversy of match-fixing in snooker is escalating, with five players experiencing an extension of their bans by the governing body in China, due to their involvement in match manipulation.
Notable players such as Yan Bingtao, 23, a former Masters champion, and Zhao Xintong, 26, a past UK Championship victor, are among the professionals facing stricter penalties imposed by the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association.
Despite an initial five-year ban, Bingtao is now barred from participating in the World Snooker Tour for seven and a half years. Xintong, on the other hand, is suspended until July 2025.
The Chinese authorities have further extended Lu Ning’s ban to eight years, Bai Langning’s to four years, and Zhang Jiankang’s to four years and five months. They have also endorsed lifetime bans implemented by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) on Liang Wenbo and Li Hang.
These punishments stem from an array of allegations, including the manipulation of matches, instigating other players to cheat, gambling on snooker games, and orchestrating match-fixing. The charges led to a total of 10 Chinese players receiving suspensions earlier this month.
All implicated players had until 20 June to contest these rulings.
Earlier this month, WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said it had 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,” Ferguson noted.
“This behavior has been recognized as wholly unacceptable by the imposition of two-lifetime bans from participating in recognized snooker in any way.”
He added: “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.”