Corruption, Snooker and Betfair

The BBC reports that two snooker players, Stephen Maguire and Jamie Burnett, were arrested as part of an investigation into corruption in a snooker match between them. They were both later released without charge, but it appears action is hotting up in the investigation into the match between the two, which ended 9-3 to Maguire back in December 2008.

In the match, Burnett missed a simple black to make the score 8-4 in the final frame of the match, leaving Maguire to pot the ball and win 9-3. Betfair took vast amounts of bets on a 9-3 scoreline, with next to nothing on a 9-2 or 9-4 score, prompting suspicion.

As has probably been mentioned on this blog, snooker is a sport more susceptible to corruption, like tennis, than football, soccer or other team sport, because the principal seeking to influence outcomes only need access one or at most two agents, so to speak. For a player low down in the rankings, the carrot of a large bribe to throw a match is likely to prove particularly tempting. We shall have to wait and see how the trial develops…


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