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Page last updated at 15:01 GMT, Friday, 25 June 2010 16:01 UK

Higgins report heads for tribunal

John Higgins
Higgins has vigorously denied the newspaper claims

By Phil Goodlad

Findings of the investigation into match-fixing allegations made against John Higgins will be handed to an independent tribunal next week.

The three-time world snooker champion and manager Pat Mooney have denied agreeing to throw frames for £261,000.

And snooker chief Barry Hearn insists that lifetime bans for breaking any of the sport's rules are not the answer.

"I do not believe in them, but I do believe in lengthy bans," Hearn told BBC Scotland.

Hearn, chairman of the World Professional Billiard and Snooker Association, did not wish to prejudge the findings of the investigation.

John Higgins is completely focused on clearing his name

Statement from spokesman for John Higgins

However, he stated: "It's our duty as the custodians of the sport to firstly educate, secondly dissuade and thirdly to punish should the rules be broken."

The claims against 35-year-old former world champion Higgins and Mooney, who quit the WPBSA board as a result of the allegations, were published by a Sunday newspaper in May.

If found guilty, the pair, already suspended by World Snooker pending the outcome of the investigation, face lengthy bans from the sport.

Sport Resolutions UK, an independent dispute resolution service, will be handed the findings of an investigation carried out by the WPBSA into the allegations.

Higgins and Mooney will then have 28 days to make representations before a hearing takes place.

The allegations that have rocked snooker surfaced on the morning of the World Championship final.

The News of the World claimed had said that it had filmed Higgins and manager Mooney agreeing with businessmen in Ukraine to lose frames in exchange for money.

A spokesman for Higgins on Friday reiterating the player's determination to prove the allegations were unfounded.

"John Higgins is completely focused on clearing his name and his legal team will vigorously defend any professional complaint made against him relating to this issue," he said in a statement.

Barry Hearn
Hearn is now the leading man organising world snooker

"We would remind everyone of John's earlier statement: 'I have never been involved in any form of snooker match fixing. In my 18 years playing professional snooker, I have never deliberately missed a shot, never mind intentionally lost a frame or a match'.

"John Higgins is unwavering in his commitment to snooker - the sport he loves."

The WPBSA investigation is being carried out by its head of discipline David Douglas.

The former Metropolitan Police detective chief superintendent will then pass his findings on to Sport Resolutions UK.

Douglas said: "Sport Resolutions deals with cases in various sports and is named in WPBSA disciplinary rules.

"It is completely independent of the WPBSA and we have no doubt that it will bring a fair conclusion to this matter."

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see also
Grand Prix draw
17 Oct 08 |  Snooker
Grand Prix final scores
19 Oct 08 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
08 Apr 11 |  Snooker
Hearn handed control of snooker
02 Jun 10 |  Snooker
Dott hopes to see Higgins cleared
26 May 10 |  Snooker
Alex Higgins makes bribe claims
09 May 10 |  Snooker
Higgins determined to clear name
09 May 10 |  Snooker
Hearn vows to wipe out 'sickness'
03 May 10 |  Snooker

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