Jason Ferguson
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Jason Ferguson – ‘All players know that betting on snooker is wrong’

Jason Ferguson says the investigation into alleged match-fixing could be just one or two weeks away from bringing charges.

The WPBSA chairman was speaking on the opening day of the Masters at the Alexandra Palace in London.

Snooker has been rocked in recent weeks by a surge of suspensions involving Chinese players, with a total of ten from the country currently banned from competing.

That includes Zhao Xintong and Yan Bingtao, top 16 members who were originally in the Masters lineup for 2023 but have since been replaced by Hossein Vafaei and David Gilbert respectively.

While Ferguson didn’t offer any specific details with regard the investigation, he did hint again that progress is at an advanced stage.

“The inquiry remains ongoing of course,” Jason Ferguson said on Eurosport before the opening match at the Masters got under way between Neil Robertson and Shaun Murphy.

“It started on the 27th of October with the suspension of Liang Wenbo. For a few months now we’ve been hard at work.”

“We have a team on the ground, very experienced, looking into every aspect of what’s been going on.

“We’re very much in the middle of the inquiry, so I can’t talk about the individual cases themselves. What I can say is, this sport is beautiful.

“It’s pure, and what’s going to go on in this beautiful arena behind us this week is going to be true live entertainment – that is why we take this action.

“At this stage, because the inquiry is ongoing, it’s impossible for me to talk about it (in detail). I don’t want to prejudice the inquiry or any potential hearing that may or may not take place after that.

“I can’t really talk about the individual inquiry. What I can tell you is that it’s at a very mature stage.

“Nigel Mawer – the head of Integrity – is leading the investigation. He’s a very experienced person, and we’re probably only a week or two away from understanding whether charges will be pressed or not.

“Individual circumstances in anything would have to be taken into account. Let’s not assume that charges are going to be levied out at every single one of these players – or any of them at this stage.

“But mitigation in anything is important. Historically, we’ve had one or two cases and the circumstances have been very different.

“There’s a huge difference between a serial match-fixer in any sport and somebody who has perhaps been pushed into a very difficult position.

“What I can say is, I think all the players on the World Snooker Tour know that betting on snooker is wrong, whether that’s on any match or their own match.

“We’ll start from that position, and everybody knows it’s wrong.

“Nigel Mawer is ruthlessly going through this case on a day-to-day basis, and he is the best in the business in my view.

“He’s a very experienced senior police officer, detective, and investigative officer. He’s very thorough.

“The key thing about suspensions, and going through this case and bringing it to a close, is to make sure that no stone is unturned.

“We need to make sure that we can 100% say that we’ve looked at everything, have dealt with it, and let’s move on.”

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