By Nick Harris
7 September 2010
The disciplinary tribunal sitting in judgement on allegations that the world No1 snooker player John Higgins agreed a £261,000 bribe in April to lose frames at future matches entered a second session at 2pm this afternoon with the outcome unclear but a result expected within 36 hours. The first session of evidence was heard this morning.
7pm update (7 Sep): Judgement is now expected to be handed out tomorrow, Wed 8 September
Higgins and his business partner Pat Mooney stand accused of agreeing to throw frames for cash, after undercover News of the World reporters, posing as businessmen (and later as shady gamblers), proposed staging tournaments and then said they wanted to bet on them.
Sportingintelligence has reported on the case extensively since early May, describing the entrapment process used as part of the NotW’s sting, and highlighting anomalies in the NotW’s evidence and presentation of stories relating to Higgins on 2 and 9 May this year. The NotW’s main reporter on the story was Mazher Mahmood, who was present at the central London tribunal this morning.
It appears that even the tribunal process itself has not been running without mischief, because for reasons yet to be explained, Sky News reported at around 11am this morning that Higgins and Mooney had admitted to charges of match fixing. This was not, in fact, the case, according to a spokesman for Higgins, who continued to maintain: “John Higgins is 100 per cent innocent of any aspect of match-fixing.”
The Sky News report of an admission of guilt was described as “malicious, speculative and wrong”; nonetheless the content of the Sky News story quickly circulated on the internet (as the scan below of some of today’s headlines shows), and on Twitter and on message boards, and was greeted by fresh abuse aimed at Higgins.
Sky News’s story has since been removed from its website.