Anorak News | Snooker just got interesting (with video evidence)

Snooker just got interesting (with video evidence)

by | 18th, December 2008

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 scoreline even before the match started.

Burnett missed a black in the 12th frame (by a long way, too), which, had he potted it, would have made the score 8-4. Watch the key conclusion to that frame below:

For a professional, you’d say that Burnett played several very poor shots – his effort to get on the blue after potting the brown was laughably bad, for example – but of course without proof, no one can say he threw the match; Maguire played some duff shots too, by the way.

In an interview with the Beeb, Burnett denied any wrongdoing:

Hmmm, not the most convincing defence but we’re in no position to accuse him without evidence. If he was worried about the black going down, he certainly made sure there was no chance of that happening.

Snooker has been dogged by rumours of match-fixing since it existed as a sport. But only one pro, Peter Francsico, has ever been caught trying to alter the result of a tournament game. Francisco lost 10-2 to Jimmy White at the 1995 World Championships, and was banned for five years after the game was investigated – as with the Maguire/Burnett match, a suspicious number of bets had been place on the resulting scorline.

Then, a few years ago, Quinten Hann, a talented Aussie, was suspended for eight years for intent to match-fix after The Sun secretly recorded a conversation with reporters posing as a gambling syndicate.

It’s easy for professionals to miss pots by fractions of inches, yet make it look natural. That’s the problem. Plus, it’s easy to get to individuals, rather than influence whole teams.

Burnett will probably escape punishment, but the whole affair leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

Posted: 18th, December 2008 | In: Sports Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink