[New Tang Dynasty News, Beijing time, January 07, 2023]In the past month, as many as 10 Chinese snooker players have been banned by the World Billiards Federation for “manipulating the game” and violating regulations. This almost destroyed half of China’s snooker. Two Chinese players, Zhao Xintong and Yan Bingtao, ranked highest in the world, lost their qualifications for the “Masters”. The famous Chinese player Ding Junhui was also investigated, and no violations were found, which can be regarded as a little bit of face for the Chinese snooker world.
A total of 10 people in China have been banned
Currently, the 10 Chinese snooker players who have been suspended are: Liang Wenbo, Lu Ning, Li Xing, Zhao Jianbo, Bai Langning, Chang Bingyu, Yan Bingtao, Chen Zifan, Zhao Xintong, Zhang Jiankang. According to mainland media reports, the circumstances of the 10 people involved in the case were different. The most serious cases were Liang Wenbo and Li Xing. The two were identified as the organizers, and there were “interest groups” behind them. It is expected that 2 people will be suspended, which will be in units of years, and they are facing criminal investigation by the Chinese judiciary.
The 22-year-old Yan Bingtao was 17 years and 282 days old and became the youngest player in history to reach the final of a large-scale ranking tournament. Known as Ding Junhui’s strongest successor. According to mainland media reports, Yan Bingtao admitted at the beginning of the investigation that he was involved in match-fixing.
The 25-year-old Zhao Xintong is the most anticipated snooker player in mainland China. Last season, he won the British Championship, one of the three Grand Slams. Facing the investigation by the World Taiwan Federation, Zhao Xintong refused to admit that he was involved in match-fixing or game manipulation. Considering his wealthy family (known as the “rich second generation” by fans), he doesn’t need to manipulate the game to make a profit. At present, it seems that it may be just betting illegally and guessing the result of the game. The circumstances are relatively minor, and the suspension period is estimated to be in months.
Zhao Xintong is currently the highest-ranked Chinese snooker player in the world and the only Chinese player ranked in the top 10; Yan Bingtao is ranked 16th in the world. The Snooker Masters is the “highlight” of one of the three Grand Slam tournaments. Only players ranked in the top 16 in the world are eligible to participate. Both Zhao Xintong and Yan Bingtao had previously qualified for the Masters. Since the two were suspended, it means that this season’s Masters, Chinese players have been wiped out. Ding Junhui failed to qualify for the competition because his ranking was too low.
As the scandal was exposed, some fans found out the match between Zhao Xintong and Yan Bingtao in the final of the German Masters last year. At that time, the two played well and reached the final together. In the final, the performances of the two were not at the same level. Zhao Xintong swept his opponent 9-0 to win. After the game, the two were all smiles, making the score on the court look extra dazzling. Yan Bingtao is a player with excellent psychological quality and balanced offense and defense. He has rarely been upset before. Now, there should be some answers to the doubts in the hearts of fans.
Snooker match-fixing is common
This season, a total of 28 Chinese snooker players have qualified as professional players. Although 10 of them were involved in the case, it is clear that this is no longer a simple personal issue. England star Shaun Murphy (Shaun Murphy) said that snooker is a gentleman’s sport and cannot be ruined by Chinese players. He suggested that Chinese players who cheated match-fixing be banned for life.
Snooker has indeed always been known as an aristocratic sport, and it is also a very niche competitive event. However, the income of the contestants is not as glamorous as the outside world imagined. England star Ronnie O’Sullivan (Ronnie O’Sullivan) once said that due to the high cost of participation, the vast majority of players outside the top 16 in the world do not make money at all.
Internationally, there are countless players who have been banned for gambling, the most famous of which is “Wizard” Higgins (John Higgins). Back then, the young Higgins deliberately lost 4 games and received a “sky-high” salary of 250,000 pounds, which was equivalent to a World Championships championship bonus. However, because Higgins admitted his mistake with a good attitude, he was only suspended for half a year, and his career was not greatly affected.
Another English player, “Fatty” Stephen Lee (Stephen Lee) was not so lucky. He was banned for 12 years for match-fixing, which is equivalent to a lifetime ban. He received £970,000 for manipulating seven games. You know, “Fatty” has only won a total of 1.5 million pounds in bonuses in his 20-year career, and these seven match-fixing games are equivalent to 2/3 of his career earnings. It can be seen that the temptation of match-fixing may indeed make some people take risks.
Among Chinese snooker players, Ding Junhui has the brightest career. Although he has never won a world championship, he has won 14 ranking championships in total, and his popularity is unmatched by other Chinese players. Today, Ding Junhui is an “Internet celebrity” with tens of millions of fans. Whether it is live streaming or endorsement, he has made a lot of money. It should be unlikely that Ding Junhui can make money through match-fixing, which also made Chinese fans breathe a sigh of relief.
(Reposted from The Epoch Times/Editor in charge: Ye Ping)
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