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Burnett match to be investigated

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Watch Burnett's crucial missed black

World Snooker has launched a formal investigation into Jamie Burnett's first-round loss to Stephen Maguire at the UK Championships on Sunday.

Burnett was beaten 9-3 and it has since emerged that several bookmakers stopped taking bets on that exact scoreline well before the match started.

The 33-year-old Scot missed a black in the 12th frame, which would have made it 8-4. He denies any wrongdoing.

World Snooker has instructed specialist lawyers to help in the case.

In a statement, the sport's governing body added: "The WPBSA (World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association) is committed to taking all steps within its power to protect the integrity of the sport.

Jamie Burnett
Burnett is currently 45th in the official world rankings list

"At approximately 1650 GMT on Friday, 12 December we received a telephone call from a bookmaker, reporting an unusual pattern of bets on Stephen Maguire to beat Jamie Burnett by a frame score of 9-3 in a match due to take place on the Sunday.

"The WPBSA immediately notified its other bookmaker contacts, so that the bookmakers could alert the industry.

"It also arranged for World Snooker officials to attend and observe the match in question and secured tapes of the match afterwards for further study.

"As part of the investigation, information will be gathered from all pertinent parties, including the players themselves, the match officials, the bookmakers and others in order to determine whether or not there is a case to answer for breach of the WPBSA's rules.

"If it is determined that there is a case to answer, the WPBSA will pursue it vigorously."

After the match, Burnett said he knew the situation and the pressure had affected his play.

Nobody can say this is a case of bookies speaking through their pockets after the event. Attention was drawn to this well before the match started

Graham Sharpe, William Hill's media relationships director

He told BBC Sport: "In the last frame I have never felt more pressure in my life. I didn't think I could have played the colours knowing people have been saying things.

"On the black I said to myself, 'I need to get this, I need to get this' in case some people start talking. I just felt so under pressure, probably the most pressure I have felt in my life. Then to come off was the lowest feeling, I felt terrible."

On the subject of match-fixing, the world number 45 added: "People have been laughing and joking about things like that for years, but to my knowledge nobody has ever done anything. Snooker is too important, there is a career here."

Graham Sharpe, media relationships director for bookmakers William Hill, said that betting patterns for the match made "alarm bells ring".

Sharpe told BBC Sport: "We know what the regular betting patterns for an event should be. It was a match for which we were only taking money for one side of the equation.

"Stephen Maguire was the strong favourite, as he was entitled to be, but he was the only one we were seeing any money for.

"We were hearing lots of whispers about [the match] within the industry. It was then we decided to withdraw our prices.

"We sat and watched the game with considerable interest and we were quite surprised, although that may be the wrong word, to see what the final result of the game was.

"It is now up for the snooker authorities to look into what happened and take the appropriate steps.

"I am quite sure it is a coincidence but nobody can say this is a case of bookies speaking through their pockets after the event. Attention was drawn to this well before the match started."

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see also
Ding downs Davis to make last 16
15 Dec 08 |  Snooker
Hendry & Selby sent crashing out
14 Dec 08 |  Snooker
Welsh duo qualify for UK finals
08 Dec 08 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan romps to UK final win
16 Dec 07 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
16 Sep 08 |  Snooker

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