The snooker world was hit with shocking news over the weekend as world champ John Higgins was accused of being involved with match fixing. News of the World alleges they have video footage of Higgins and his manager Pat Mooney making a deal with an undercover reporter, agreeing to take a £261,000 bribe to lose frames.
Many online sportsbooks in the UK now offer the option of betting on individual frames. If these allegations are true, it could have a huge impact on not only the world of Snooker, but also on bookmaking operations in the UK and abroad that offer bets on the games.
“Those responsible, if proved, will be dealt with in a very harsh and brutal way,” says World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn. Not taking any chances, he has already suspended Higgins from all future tournaments pending an investigation.
The alleged meeting between Higgens, Mooney, and the undercover reporter is said to have taken place in Kiev, Ukraine. Higgens denies ever having accepted a bribe to lose a frame or a match, but Mooney has admitted that the conversation did take place. Mooney says he was nervous about being approached with the bribe. He suspected that the Russian mafia may have been involved, and he wanted nothing more than to leave. It now seems Mooney believes the pair was set up.
Players and fans in the world of snooker, as well as punters who enjoy internet betting in the United Kingdom, are surprised by the incident and are anxious to see how it plays out. Hearn, who has been working hard in recent months to transform the UK snooker league, and is concerned that these allegations may damage the sport.
Higgens remains confident. “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.