This year’s World Snooker Championship at the Crucible could be overshadowed as 10 players face an independent disciplinary hearing after allegations over match-fixing.
The players, which include former UK champion Zhao Xintong and former Masters champion Yan Bingtao, are currently suspended from the World Snooker Tour.
The WPBSA confirmed in a statement: “Players will remain suspended until the outcome of the independent disciplinary hearing is published.
“They will therefore not participate in any other World Snooker Tour events during the 2022/23 season, including the World Snooker Championship 2023.”
But what have the players been accused of and what will happen at the hearing?
Who are the accused players?
The 10 accused players are: Zhao Xintong, Yan Bingtao, Liang Wenbo, Li Hang, Lu Ning, Zhang Jiankang, Chen Zifan, Chang Bingyu, Zhao Jianbo and Bai Langning.
Zhao, currently ninth in the world, is the only one of the 10 who would earn an automatic invite to the first round proper of the 2023 World Championship, although Yan was also in the top 16 in the world before his disqualification began and dropped in the world rankings.
What were they accused of?
Six players were charged with fixing one or more matches, including Yan, the 2021 Masters champion. Lu Ning, Zhang Jiankang, Chen Zifan, Chang Bingyu and Zhao Jianbo are the others to be charged with fixing.
Liang Wenbo, runner-up in the 2015 UK Championship, was the first player suspended last October. Zhao, meanwhile, was accused of “being concerned about fixing a World Snooker Tour match”, alongside Bai Langning.
Liang Wenbo was accused of being concerned about fixing matches and accosting players to fix matches on the World Snooker Tour, trying to obstruct the investigation and failing to cooperate with the WPBSA’s investigation.
Li Hang was accused of being concerned about fixing matches and approaching players to fix matches on the World Snooker Tour, trying to obstruct the investigation and betting on snooker matches.
Lu Ning was accused of fixing a match and being preoccupied with fixing matches and approaching a player to fix a match on the World Snooker Tour, trying to obstruct an investigation and betting on snooker matches.
Yan Bingtao was accused of match fixing on the World Snooker Tour and betting on snooker.
Zhao Xintong was accused of being concerned about match fixing on the World Snooker Tour and betting on snooker.
Zhang Jiankang was accused of fixing a match on the World Snooker Tour, failing to report approaches for him to fix matches and bet on snooker matches.
Chen Zifan has been accused of match fixing on the World Snooker Tour.
Chang Bingyu and Zhao Jianbo were both accused of fixing a match on the World Snooker Tour.
Bai Langning has been accused of being concerned about fixing a World Snooker Tour match.
When is the disciplinary hearing?
The independent disciplinary hearing will begin on Monday 24 April at the start of week two of the World Snooker Championship 2023. It will be chaired by Ian Mill KC.
Have there been any recent violations of the snooker betting rules?
According to the WPBSA website, the following players have violated the betting rules since 2012.
Additionally, the WPBSA announced in March that veteran player Mark King, previously ranked 11th in the world and winner of the 2016 Northern Ireland Open, had been suspended while the body investigated reports of irregular betting patterns. Reports were referring to King’s 4-0 loss to Joe Perry during the Welsh Open earlier this year.