This year’s World Snooker Championships has been one of the best in living memory, with all sorts of incredible upsets and gripping matches. As it stands now a cracking final is taking place, with Neil Robertson leading the re-born Scot Graham Dott 9-7 overnight, but that has been overshadowed by another match-fixing scandal which has threatened current world champ John Higgin’s career.

Higgins was exposed yesterday by the News of the World appearing to agree in principle with throwing frames of matches for the benefit of eastern European gambling fraudsters, and implicating a couple of well known (but as yet unnamed) fellow pros in the process, and now snooker boss Barry Hearn has said his career will be in serious doubt if the allegations are proved to be true.

‘I've made him aware there are very serious repercussions on this if this case is proved by the disciplinary council of the WPBSA,’ said Hearn. ‘Basically that this is in my view such a level that if the allegations are found, then obviously his whole career is in doubt. He should be aware of that and give it some thought, obviously. Get advice, independent advice.

‘As much as I would class John as a nice guy, the game is at stake here. Whatever the penalty is, it sends out a message to everyone. This is a major international globalised sport, these are the rules, don't break them.’

‘Today is the start of the biggest match of my life,’ said Higgins in a statement. ‘I will co-operate fully with the snooker authorities. I have built my reputation on honesty and integrity.

‘Sadly, others have now damaged that reputation and it is now left to me to clear my name. I have never been involved in any form of snooker match-fixing. In my 18 years playing professional snooker I have never deliberately missed a shot, never mind intentionally lost a frame or a match.’

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