It’s time for our annual highs and lows review, and 2022 in snooker has produced a lot of noteworthy talking points.
We looked at some of the highlights from the 2022 calendar year on Monday, but today we’ll concentrate on some of the negative news stories that have surrounded snooker throughout that time.
Suspended Chinese players
This controversy is so severe that it appears to be the lowest moment in the history of sports.
Eight Chinese players have been suspended as of the end of December due to an ongoing investigation into match-fixing.
SEE HERE: Snooker is in trouble as the match-fixing scandal spreads.
Liang Wenbo was the first to be banned in October, but Lu Ning, Li Hang, Bai Langning, Chang Bingyu. Amateur Zhao Jianbo were the next five to be suspended at the beginning of this month.
After Chang made the extraordinary claim that Liang had threatened to make him lose. His British Open match against Jamie Jones this year, speculation increased.
The 20-year-old also claimed in a since-deleted post on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo. That his more senior countryman had pressured him to remain silent once the probe got underway.
Shortly before his first match at the English Open, former Masters winner Yan Bingtao was added to the list of purported rebels, severely worsening the situation.
Last week, Chen Zifan became the most recent player to get a suspension; nevertheless, as this utterly embarrassing incident for the sport continues, there are worries that more players may follow.
Domestic violence by Liang Wenbo
Liang is not only involved in the aforementioned match-fixing scandal. But the former English Open snooker champion also made unfavourable news earlier in 2022.
The 35-year-old was reported to have received a felony conviction on the eve of the World Snooker Championship qualifying events in April.
Liang was given a 12-month community order and a £1,380 fine after he was seen on surveillance footage repeatedly striking and kicking a woman in Sheffield’s downtown.
The World Professional Billiards and UK Snooker Association quickly suspended Liang after being shocked and incensed by how they had learnt of the occurrence.
But given the seriousness of the infraction. Many believed that the former world number 11’s four-month suspension for bringing the sport into disrepute was insufficient.
Before being suspended once more for the alleged match-fixing in the 2022–23 season, Liang only made a brief comeback for three games.
This year, extra steps were done to help the sport get back to normal after COVID. Including travels to Germany and Turkey and venues that were once again filled.
However, there are still some sizable gaps in the calendar because China is still a prohibited country.
The track was very stop-start between the World Championship finishing in early May. And the British Open finishing at the end of September.
Snooker executives made an absurdly laborious attempt to hide this issue by creating a month-long version of the Championship League.
For ranking events, preliminary qualifying rounds were also prolonged to give the impression that the campaign was more active.
Only a small number of participants were allowed to participate in new projects like the World Mixed Doubles and the Hong Kong Masters.
All of this led to a lengthy period, over six months for some, during which participants were only able to participate in a select few events.
Even if the governing body announced a welcome £20,000 cash incentive, more should be done to ensure an increased number of genuine playing opportunities. As professionals, this lack of earning potential is proving to be a significant problem for many of the lower-ranked players.
Robert Milkins’ victory in the Gibraltar Open was highlighted in yesterday’s post on the best moments of the year.
It was unexpected enough for The Milkman to win his first ranking title at the age of 46. But it was even more so when you consider what had just occurred.
Milkins’ career reached an all-time low following an intoxicated incident. At the first Turkish Masters a few weeks previous to his breakthrough on the Rock.
Milkins reportedly got into a fight with WPBSA head Jason Ferguson at the opening ceremony. After binge drinking to celebrate his birthday.
If that wasn’t enough. The former world number 12 also fell in the restroom and was taken to a nearby hospital. Where he had his stomach pumped.
Expressing remorse for his actions, Milkins was handed fines worth £7,000 in total but somehow managed to avoid a suspension.