Barry Hearn issues snooker gambling warning
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn says players who gamble on World Championship matches will be banned from the sport for life.
John Higgins was suspended for six months and fined £75,000 after becoming involved in a newspaper sting related to match-fixing last year, although the Scot was later declared not to have deliberately lost frames. Following the incident, Hearn issued a complete ban on players gambling on matches and now says there will be a zero tolerance approach to the issue.
“You have to educate first, and I think we've done the education this year,” he said. “The other side of the process is the punishment. If you mess around with this, it's life."
Hearn added that, in the longer term, the scandal had actually helped the sport as a whole. “Despite the bad publicity, despite the problems during the World Championships, we came out of it stronger,” he said. "We actually realised we're not untouchable. That gave us the opportunity, and I think we made major strides."