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Hearn Issues Betting Warning to Players

Hearn Issues Betting Warning to Players

Barry Hearn has warned players that they risk life bans if caught gambling on this year's World Championships. Last year's event was marred by claims that former champion John Higgins had agreed to lose frames for cash. He was cleared but served a disrepute ban.

World Snooker chairman Hearn said: "You have to educate first, and I think we've done the education this year.

"The other side of the process is the punishment. If you mess around with this, it's life."

Higgins was caught up in a newspaper sting in which he appeared to agree to take a bribe to fix matches.

An independent disciplinary tribunal accepted the Scot's explanation that he had felt intimidated and acted out of fear, but he was handed a six-month suspension and fined £75,000 for tarnishing snooker's image.

The fallout from the Higgins scandal led Hearn to place a blanket ban on players putting any kind of bet on a snooker match.

Speaking after Monday's draw for this year's World Championships, Hearn said players had to understand their livelihoods are at risk if they break the rules.

"All the things you built up, all the things that have been given to you are going to be lost once and for all," he warned.

Hearn was on the brink of completing his takeover of World Snooker last year when the Higgins story broke.

He admitted the scandal ultimately had a cleansing effect but also vowed vigilance, saying: "The biggest killer in anything, life or sport, is complacency.

"In reality, you have to consider nightmare scenarios every day of your life, whether it's a security issue, whether it's an integrity issue.

"Despite the bad publicity, despite the problems during the (2010) World Championships, we came out of it stronger.

"We actually realised we're not untouchable. That gave us the opportunity, and I think we made major strides."

Hearn set up an "Integrity Unit" to police the game but also increased the number of tournaments in a bid to avoid players being tempted to stray in the first place.

"We always needed to create more reason to play your best at all times," he said. "There's too much to lose now, whereas before there wasn't enough."

Article courtesy of the BBC

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Since all this happend 11 months ago Barry Hearn has taken what I believe to be, all the right steps to ensure the integrity of the game is upheld including the creation of the Integrity Unit. For such a big event as the World Championships it is good that he has reminded the players (including not just the ones in the tournament) that their career will be on the line if they are caught betting on or fixing matches and this can only be a good thing after the John Higgins scandal from last year.

 

Posted Mar 21, 2011   
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