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Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Sunday, 9 May 2010 12:36 UK

Alex Higgins claims four top players took bribes

Alex Higgins
Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins was one of snooker's biggest stars of the 1970s and 80s.

Former world snooker champion Alex Higgins claims that at least four top players have taken bribes to lose tournament matches.

Higgins also said he turned down several big-money offers to throw games in his career.

"I know of at least four pros who have taken big bribes to chuck games," the Belfast player told the Sunday Life.

World number one John Higgins has been suspended after reportedly agreeing to take a £261,000 bribe to lose frames.

There is no suggestion John Higgins has ever thrown a frame or fixed a match.

Snooker chief Barry Hearn says any "sickness" in snooker will be removed "in a brutal manner" if the allegations against John Higgins are proved.

Just because they wear crisp white shirts doesn't make them clean.
Alex Higgins

Alex Higgins, world champion in 1972 and 1982, believes corruption exists in professional snooker.

"The names (of the four players) would shock the public if it was proved they were on the take," he said.

"But I know there are plenty of repulsive professional players who have thrown games for bookies.

"Just because they wear crisp white shirts doesn't make them clean - it's all going on right under people's noses."

Higgins claims that Greek gamblers offered him £18,000 in 1979 to lose his Benson & Hedges Masters quarter-final against Perrie Mans.

He was also offered £20,000 to cheat at the Irish Masters in 1989 - Higgins rejected both offers.

"I wanted nothing to do with any of them. I couldn't live with myself if I did it."

The 61-year-old, who has battled throat cancer in recent years, is scheduled to appear in the new World Seniors Championship in November.

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see also
Snooker goes back to the future
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Hearn vows to wipe out 'sickness'
03 May 10 |  Snooker
Higgins pledges to clear his name
03 May 10 |  Snooker
John Higgins profile
02 May 10 |  Snooker
Hearn confirmed as snooker chief
17 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Legend Davis pips Higgins in epic
24 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Higgins earns third world crown
04 May 09 |  Snooker
Snooker star bailed in bets probe
12 Feb 10 |  Wiltshire
Police investigate snooker match
17 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Snooker pair in police bet probe
27 Aug 09 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Snooker faces match-fixing probe
13 Feb 08 |  Snooker
Guilty Hann given eight-year ban
17 Feb 06 |  Snooker
Bad Boys: Silvino and Peter Francisco
22 Apr 03 |  Snooker

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