The final verdict in John Higgins` case

06:39:00 Ramona Dragomir 1 Comments

Higgins, not guilty of "match-fixing"
Finally after all those crazy months and all those crazy news we have a verdict for Higgins and Mooney’s case. Yesterday, as you all know Ian Mill QC made public the ruling in the "match-fixing" case.
Both John and Pat were found guilty of only two of the four imputed charges, these being:
1) Intentionally giving the impression to others that they were agreeing to act in breach of the Betting Rules;
2) Failing to disclose promptly to the association (WPBSA) full details of an approach or invitation to act in breach of the Betting Rules

Based on these two accusations, John Higgins is banned for 6 months from snooker and all related fields (dated 2 May, the first time when he was suspended, so in November the term will expire) and he has to pay a total amount of £85,000 (£75,000 for the proved allegations and £10,000 for the WPBSA).
On the other hand, Pat Mooney is banned forever from the snooker business and has to play a total fine of £25,000 to the WPBSA.

At the beginning of this article I was telling you that the two were found guilty of only two of the four changes, for the WBPSA decided to drop the following charges: agreeing or offering to accept a bribe, bribes or other reward to fix or otherwise to influence improperly the result of a tournament or match and agreeing to engage in corrupt or fraudulent conduct. You may wonder why. :P Well the motives are quite different.
In Higgins` case, the motive of dropping these charges "resulted from an acceptance, following an investigation which all concerned have correctly characterised as very thorough and fair, that Mr. Higgins had truthfully accounted for his words and actions at the meeting in Kiev on 30 April, selected extracts from which subsequently were widely publicised. In short, his account (which has remained consistent throughout) was as follows."
However, in Mooney’s case, things are more complicated, for it seems like the WPBSA maintained its opinion that Mr. Mooney has intended to act fraudulently and corruptly as alleged. "However, a last minute argument advanced on behalf of Mr. Mooney by Mr. Phillips QC, based on a proper construction of the Rules to which Charges 1 and 2 refer had persuaded the Association that it did not have sufficient prospects of proving those Charges. That argument revolved around the definitions of the words “Tour”, “Tournament” and “Match”, which appear in both of the relevant Rules. Mr. Phillips argued that the discussions giving rise to those Charges were concerned with events which did not fall within the ambit of those words as so defined."
Cool, huh? Pffff

He`ll be back in November
So, the snooker fans will be able to see John Higgins play again at the beginning of November. John was really lucky to have the suspension period cumulated with the first one and not be banned for a long time. This gives him a pretty good chance to get back on the game, although it will be very hard to regain its dominancy and the respect of the public and some colleagues.
And since his imagine was so seriously disturbed, it seems like the WPBSA is lending him a helping hand making him part of their new educational programme for snooker players, which will form part of the Integrity Unit to be set by the WBPSA Disciplinary Committee Chairman David Douglas. Isn’t that nice?! :P

Yesterday we could watch the two main figures of the "match-fixing" scandal, making public declarations. John was reading his in front of the cameras, saying that he accepts the tribunal verdict and he is ready to get back on the game, and Mooney (well, his spokesman, to be more precise) was saying how Mr. Mooney is please that the WPBSA dropped the accusations of "match-fixing" and he regrets terribly "being caught up in the News of the World’s entrapment and is unreservedly sorry for the impact that sting has had on snooker and Mr. Higgins in particular."

At the News of the World house a party was in order: "Today's judgment is testament to the extraordinary work of our investigations editor Mazher Mahmood. We hope that the exposure of Higgins and Mooney will act as a deterrent to any other cheats in sport and help restore the integrity of snooker." Aww, isn’t that thoughtful! :P

Pat Mooney banned for life from snooker
What is really strange in my opinion is that for some time the honesty of the NotW videos was put to question, many specialists saying that the images were intentionally incriminating Higgins and the gap between what was heard on the video and the subtitles was very suspect. Well, they didn’t say anything about that in yesterday’s ruling. Was the evidence found 100% true? You know it as well as I do that if the evidence is not proved to be genuine, the case doesn’t stand a chance. Or maybe it doesn’t really matter as long as the WPBSA dropped the most important charges of the case? Hmmm…

To be perfectly honest with you, as I’ve said it before, I don’t know if Higgins is guilty or not and I don’t care. He and Mooney know best what happened. The main issues here are that snooker had suffered and has to suffer still and that’s no good. These kind of business is never good for the image of a "gentlemen` game", but in the end I’m sure snooker will survive.:)

For those of you who want to read the full statement, here you have the link from a very interesting article. :)


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this article ! But...
If somebody accepts to traduct it into French, it would be very good for me !
Pierre-Antoine CATHIGNOL
Clermont-Ferrand (France) (do write in French, please :-) ! )