Snooker match-fixing scandal could have long-lasting effects on the game that are hard to overcome. The BALCO controversy. Does anyone still recall that? Famous sportsmen from a variety of sports were accused of doping in an inquiry into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative that occurred about 20 years ago. I had previously been an oblivious sports fan who had an obvious and innocent disregard for the idea of organised cheating. Naturally, as a teenager at the time. I was aware of its existence. However, I was still largely convinced that sport was superior, enjoyable, and moral.
In terms of my love for track and field athletics in particular, the BALCO scandal marked the beginning of the end. Numerous other incidents of performance enhancement served to further aggravate the wound. Would I still watch and take pleasure in the major events since they provided entertainment value? No doubt. Would I believe all I saw? That, however, is a completely different issue. Since BALCO, it hasn’t really been the same.
For other people, the harm being done by the current snooker match-fixing scandal may be equally irreparable. The ten Chinese participants in the case were all formally charged with corruption on Wednesday, it was revealed. This includes Zhao Xintong, the 2021 UK champion, and Yan Bingtao, a past Masters champion, both of whom are among the top 16 players in the world rankings. Over the previous few seasons, the pair had represented two of the most promising young players in the game overall and not just from China.
What the ten players are charged with:
The ninth-ranked player in the world, Zhao Xintong, has been accused of being involved in match fixing on the World Snooker Tour and snooker betting.
The 16th-ranked player in the world, Yan Bingtao, has been accused of rigging World Snooker Tour matches and engaging in snooker betting.
Lu Ning, the 46th-ranked player in the world, has been accused of fixing a match. Being involved in match fixing, asking a player to fix a match on the World Snooker Tour. Attempting to impede the inquiry, and placing bets on snooker matches.
Liang Wenbo, the 56th-ranked player in the world. Has been accused of trying to hinder the inquiry, cooperating improperly with the WPBSA. Being concerned about rigging matches on the World Snooker Tour.
Li Hang, the 64th-ranked player in the world, is accused of trying to manipulate games on the World Snooker Tour, soliciting players to do so. Attempting to impede the inquiry, and betting on snooker games.
The World Snooker Tour’s World Number 77, Chang Bingyu, has been accused of manipulating a match.
The 82nd-ranked player in the world, Zhang Jiankang, has been accused of manipulating a World Snooker Tour match. Failing to report attempts to influence matches, and placing bets on snooker games.
The World Snooker Tour’s World Number 93 Chen Zifan has been accused of rigging games.
The 126th-ranked player in the world, Bai Langning. Has been accused of taking part in a World Snooker Tour match fix.
Amateur Zhao Jianbo is accused of manipulating a match on the World Snooker Tour.
What will come out of the snooker match-fixing scandal?
Each of the ten players was accused of a different crime, thus they will probably face varying degrees of punishment after the upcoming independent hearings.
The fact that this was a sophisticated swindle involving a sizeable portion of the main tour—more than one-third of the whole Chinese professional circuit—is certain.
A resolution is anticipated by the conclusion of the season. The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association deserves praise for its prompt handling of the situation in recent months.
However, major questions must be raised, such how was this even possible, particularly on such a serious scale?
Even a cursory check at social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter’s comment sections will reveal that many people are in a resentful frame of mind. Because only Chinese players were engaged in the match-fixing scandal. Some supporters may now paint all Chinese snooker players with the same brush, regardless of how unjustified they may be.
Every inadequate safety will be investigated, and every pot that is missing will be examined. The entire scenario might completely turn off upcoming sports lovers.
Why did this happen?
The obvious fact that snooker strongly depends on the gambling sector is that more than ten of the tournaments on the calendar are currently sponsored by bookmakers.
Then there are the effects in China, which has been severely affected by the pandemic in recent years despite being a crucial financial market for the sport. The Shanghai Masters is anticipated to return to the city’s international athletic calendar in 2023, according to news this week. But no one really knows what the consequences of a potential ban on the 10 players will be in terms of the sport’s long-term profitable chances in China. Even less is known about how this scandal would impact prospective snooker players. Notably those from China but also those from other parts of the world. Many young sports fans would have looked up to athletes like Zhao and Yan. But now the once-inspiring example has been replaced by a dejected dosage of condemnation. Unfortunately, my past experience has taught me that scandals this size are hard to forget and much harder to forgive.