Former world snooker champ suspended for bribery
Former world snooker champion John Higgins was suspended Sunday over allegations that he accepted money to influence match results as part of a betting scam.
The 34-year-old Scot, who lost his world title last week, was filmed by the News of the World newspaper apparently agreeing to accept euro300,000 from undercover reporters in Kiev in return for losing certain frames in matches to be played later this year.
Barry Hearn, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, said that Higgins had been suspended pending an investigation and his manager, Pat Mooney, who was also filmed accepting the deal, had resigned from snooker's governing body.
"I don't think I've ever felt so let down or kicked," Hearn said. "We're working so hard on revitalizing the game and there are lots of people pulling in the right direction.
"We wanted the headlines to be about Steve Davis' revitalization, Stephen Hendry's recovery," he said in reference to the return to form of two former world champions. "But all we're talking about is the News of the World expose on John Higgins and his manager, which has left me feeling devastated.
"I'm not prepared to see the sport die under this type of publicity."
Davis, the 52-year-old six-time champion who knocked Higgins out in the second round of this year's championship, said the allegations had stunned the game.
"Everybody is in shock," Davis said. "Everyone's walking around in bits. It's a dark day for snooker." - AP
Published May 2 2010