Reporter | Yang Wei
With the end of the English Open on December 18th, the snooker tournament in 2022 will enter the off-season, and the snooker Masters and the World Grand Prix will be held in January 2023, but the snooker industry entering the year is not peaceful.
On December 27th, 2022, Beijing time, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) issued a statement that China’s Chen Zifan was suspended from participating in the World Snooker Tour due to alleged manipulation of the competition results, and this decision took effect immediately.
This is the eighth China snooker player who has been suspended for the same reason this year. Previously, at the end of October, 2022, China’s Liang Wenbo, who would have played in the 2022 Snooker English Open qualifier, was suddenly suspended, and the World Taiwan Federation immediately announced that it would launch relevant investigations.
Until December 9th, WPBSA issued a statement announcing that six China players, Liang Wenbo, Lu Ning, Li Hsing, Zhao Jianbo, Bai Langning and Chang Bingyu, were suspended for violating the WFTU Code of Conduct and allegedly manipulating the results of the competition for the purpose of gambling. Among them, Lu Ning and Chang Bingyu missed the English Open.
After another wave of unrest, on December 12, WPBSA issued another ticket, and Yan Bingtao, a 22-year-old rising star who was regarded as Ding Junhui’s successor, was also suspended for manipulating the results of the competition. At that time, Yan Bingtao, ranked 16th in the world, was about to take part in the English Open. He will also withdraw from the snooker Masters, which will kick off on January 8, 2023.
In fact, this is not the first time that a China snooker player has been punished by the World Federation of Taiwan for fixing the ball. In December, 2018, China’s Yu Delu and Cao Yupeng were sentenced to 10 years, 9 months and 6 years’ ban respectively for suspected match-fixing.
In fact, in recent ten years, the sport of snooker has been unable to cut with match-fixing. In 2013, Stephen Lee, a British star who ranked fifth in the world, was banned for 12 years for match-fixing, while Higgins, who had been ranked first in the world for a long time, was also banned for gambling, and then Bingham, a former world champion.
The constant match-fixing scandal has dealt a great blow to snooker.
Previously, although it was not comparable to the four major sports leagues in North America and the five major leagues in Europe, it had a fixed tournament coverage, a stable commercialization and bonus structure, and entered the China market relatively early, which made snooker one of the "small but beautiful" models of commercial events worldwide.
But now, in the China market,After Ding Junhui, the "first brother", China snooker has been in a hopeless situation. In addition, such a large number of players have been banned, which is undoubtedly worse.
So far this season, China players have only reached the semi-finals of the ranking tournament in the Champions League, the Northern Ireland Open and the British Championship, while in the British Championship, one of the "Three Snooker Competitions", a total of seven people participated in the China Legion, and only Ding Junhui and Zhou Yuelong broke through the first round.
selfAfter Ding Junhui won the world snooker china open and Snooker British Championship respectively in 2005, snooker gradually gained a foothold in China.
Before the epidemic, more than 5 competitions were held in China every year.,andEstablished the CBSA World Snooker Academy. This sport, which was born in the British Isles, regards China as its largest overseas market and has gained a lot.
However, the continuous fermentation of this match-fixing event will inevitably affect the image of China snooker, and its market value in China will be greatly reduced. At the same time, it will affect the future of the whole snooker movement.
To some extent, the high entry cost and low prize money have made some low-ranked players "think badly".
In recent years, due to the epidemic situation, players must go abroad frequently and get good results in large-scale ranking competitions in order to get a certain amount of bonuses. However, due to the limited overall prize money of snooker events, the income of the players is even difficult to make up for the high cost of living in Britain and Europe.
After this season’s Scottish Open, Ding Junhui, the "first brother" of China snooker, repeatedly bombarded the World Taiwan Federation with three dynamic articles on December 1st, bluntly saying, "I didn’t expect any sport to start at 11 o’clock" and "earn a lot of money to give athletes a little bonus".
It is not difficult to see that there are not a few athletes who are dissatisfied with the schedule arrangement and bonus distribution system of the World Taiwan Federation.
In fact, as the world’s top commercial billiards tournament, snooker can earn a lot of sponsorship income, including CAZOO, a British used car service provider, ROKIT, a European telecommunications company, and Red Bull, a beverage giant.
However, the competition system that ranks according to the number of prizes and the sharp decline in the prizes of events make it difficult for players with poor performance to maintain their careers. To be in2023yearoneTake the snooker Masters held in June as an example, as a snooker."One of the Three Major Events",Only before the ranking16Only athletes are eligible to participate.,But stop the first round.Players can only getone.fiveTen thousand pounds (about 125 thousand yuan) bonus.
As a leader in the industry, Ding Junhui seems to be helping China billiards explore new directions. On December 20th, the International Federation of Chinese Billiards announced that Ding Junhui would officially become the global promotion ambassador of Chinese billiards.
From March to April, 2023, during the global finals of Qiao’s Chinese Billiards Masters in 2022, the Chinese Billiards International Federation will hold a signing ceremony with Ding Junhui.
Ding Junhui said: "This is an original billiards game in China. I am more cordial and passionate about it. I am willing to contribute my own strength to its development."