Triple Crown champ Zhao Xintong suspended from snooker over match-fixing as TEN Chinese stars now hit with ban | The Sun
TRIPLE CROWN winner Zhao Xintong has been suspended from snooker events as part of an ongoing match-fixing probe.
World No9 Xintong – who beat Luca Brecel in the 2021 UK Championship final in York – and Zhang Jiankang were barred from “attending or competing” on the World Snooker Tour on Tuesday.
Xintong, 25, was due to face four-time world champion Mark Selby in front of the BBC TV cameras on Sunday evening in the first round the Masters at Ally Pally.
But the suspension has come in with “immediate effect” and his spot in the draw will be taken by a late replacement.
It means TEN Chinese players have now been suspended by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association.
Several months ago, snooker integrity chiefs began an investigation into “allegations of manipulating the outcome of matches for betting purposes”.
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Snooker in chaos with EIGHTH top star bannedamid match-fixing investigation
Zhao and Zhang have the right to appeal the decision but the suspension will remain in place “until the conclusion of the investigation or any subsequent charges that may or may not be brought”.
WPBSA – the governing body for the sport – say their “wider investigation is now at an advanced stage”.
And following lengthy interviews with the banned players, they anticipate it “will be completed shortly at which point any potential charges will be considered”.
The sport has been in crisis ever since Yan Bingtao – winner of the Masters in 2021 – was barred last month from appearing in WST competitions.
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Elsewhere in December, Lu Ning, Li Hang, Zhao Jianbo, Bai Langning, Chang Bingyu and Chen Zifan were all sanctioned.
Liang Wenbo, a former English Open winner, was first hit with a temporary ban on October 27 for “allegations of misconduct”.
WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson has vowed to clampdown on any cheats who are found guilty of fixing snooker matches.
SunSport has contacted Zhao’s agent for comment.
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