Liang Wenbo and Li Hang: snooker players banned from sport over match-fixing - what happened?
Eight other Chinese players, including Yan Bingtao, Zhao Xintong and Lu Ning, have also been suspended after the WPBSA conducted a formal investigation
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Liang Wenbo and Li Hang have been handed lifetime bans from snooker, with eight other players also suspended over match-fixing charges. The punishments were issued after the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) conducted a formal investigation.
WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said in a statement: "It has been heart-breaking to see some young, talented players fall foul of the WPBSA conduct regulations through pressure exerted by two senior players (Wenbo and Hang). This behaviour has been recognised as wholly unacceptable by the imposition of two lifetime bans from participating in recognised snooker in any way.
“This outcome must be taken as a lesson to those who think they can avoid detection. If any player is involved in fixing a snooker match, they will be caught and will face severe penalties.”
All the players accepted the charges of match-fixing except Zhao Xintong, who admitted only to being party to another player fixing two matches and that he had bet on games.
What did Liang Wenbo and Li Hang do?
It found that Wenbo fixed or had been a party to fix five snooker matches between 24 July and 28 September in 2022, as well as to have solicited, induced, enticed, persuaded, encouraged or facilitated other players to fix nine other games between 24 July and 13 December 2022.
The WPBSA also discovered that he had bet on snooker matches between 1 September 2019 and 31 December 2022 which is in breach of the rules.
When aware that the enquiry was underway, Wenbo is understood to have covered up or attempted to cover up evidence of match-fixing by deleting messages off his phone, as well as asking and even threatening other players involved to do the same.
Hang was found to have breached official WPSBA regulations for fixing or being party to fix five snooker matches between 24 July and 29 September in 2022. The organisation also discovered evidence of the player soliciting, inducing, enticing, persuading, encouraging or facilitating players to fix seven snooker matches between 24 July and 13 December 13, 2022.
He also bet on snooker games on or after 1 September 2022, while also covering up or attempting to cover up his involvement in match fixing once he learned of the WPBSA enquiry.
Which snooker players have been punished for match fixing?
- Liang Wenbo
- Li Hang
- Lu Ning
- Zhao Xintong
- Yan Bingtao
- Chen Zifan
- Zhang Jiankang
- Bai Langning
- Zhao Jianbo
- Chang Bingyu
What punishments have the snooker players received for match fixing?
As the WPBSA take match-fixing very seriously, equally damning punishments and charges have been issued to the players involved in the scandal.
Wenbo and Hang will never see the professional game again as they have received lifetime bans from snooker. The eight others have been suspended for between five years and four months to one year and eight months.