Higgins cleared over bribery

2010-09-09 10:20

London - Former world champion John Higgins was cleared of bribery allegations on Wednesday but banned for six months and fined 75 000 pounds for bringing the game into disrepute.

Higgins admitted "intentionally giving the impression to others that they were agreeing to act in breach of the betting rules" and failing to report an approach made to him by undercover reporters asking him to throw matches.

The more serious charges of "agreeing or offering" to accept bribes and "agreeing to engage in corrupt or fraudulent conduct" were withdrawn by governing body World Snooker following the two-day hearing in London.

The hearing follows allegations by the News of the World newspaper that Higgins tried to bet against himself at last year's world championships.

The newspaper filmed Higgins and his manager Pat Mooney allegedly accepting 261 000 pounds to fix matches by throwing frames.

Higgins, 35, said he accepted the decision by Sport Resolutions, an independent dispute tribunal.

"I welcome today's judgment by Sport Resolutions and endorsed by the WPBSA (World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association) following their exhaustive enquiry into the allegations against me by a tabloid newspaper," the Scot said in a statement.

"I was not guilty of any dishonesty and had no intention to fix a match and no intention to do anything corrupt".

Higgins repeated his statement from May, when he refuted the allegations made by the Sunday newspaper: "I have never been involved in any form of snooker match fixing," Higgins stated.

"In my 18 years playing professional snooker, I have never deliberately missed a shot, never mind intentionally lost a frame or a match.

"If I am guilty of anything, it is of naivety and trusting those who, I believed, were working in the best interests of snooker and myself."

Higgins's suspension ends in November and the Scot said he would "be back... and be back winning."

Higgins has won 21 ranking titles during his career.