Snooker body investigating suspicious betting

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Snooker's governing body is investigating a match at the U.K. Championship after British bookmakers reported suspicious betting patterns.

Three firms suspended betting on Stephen Maguire's win over Jamie Burnett in the first round on Monday after noticing unusually heavy betting on a score of 9-3 in Maguire's favor.

The No. 2-ranked Maguire eventually won by the predicted score, but only after his fellow Scot missed a black in the 12th frame that would have made it 8-4.

The players have acknowledged that they were aware of speculation on the score before the match, but Burnett has denied any wrongdoing.

"In the last frame, I have never felt more pressure in my life," Burnett told the BBC. "On the black, I said to myself, 'I need to get this, I need to get this,' in case some people start talking.

"I just felt so under pressure, probably the most pressure I have felt in my life. Then to come off was the lowest feeling, I felt terrible."

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association did not comment specifically on the case but reiterated its stance on match-fixing.

"The match in question is carefully monitored by World Snooker and a thorough assessment of the players' performance will be made," the WPBSA said. "In past incidents, which are extremely rare, World Snooker has taken a particularly stringent line where players have been judged guilty of match-fixing or intention to match-fix."

Bookmakers are obliged under British law to share information about suspect activity and a conviction for cheating at gambling can lead to a two-year prison term.

Some bookmakers are wary of snooker's potential for fixing and do not offer odds on specific scores, only results.

The WPBSA has previously banned Peter Franciso for five years and Quinten Hann for eight years for fixing offenses. Francisco was suspended for seemingly conspiring to lose 10-2 to Jimmy White at the 1995 World Championship, while Hann was secretly filmed two years ago by a newspaper agreeing to pre-arrange the results of his matches.