Kyren Wilson speaks out on “unacceptable” snooker match-fixing scandal

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Kyren Wilson has spoken out on the match fixing saga in snooker (Image: GETTY)
Kyren Wilson has spoken out on the match fixing saga in snooker (Image: GETTY)

Snooker star Kyren Wilson has spoken out on the match-fixing saga that is currently plaguing the sport.

This week, former UK champion Zhao Xintong and Zhang Jiankang became the latest players to be suspended amid a World Snooker Tour investigation, taking the total of Chinese players temporarily banned to 10. Xintong, along with Yan Bingtao, had initially qualified for the upcoming Masters.

Wilson will be taking his place in the Triple Crown event for the top 16 ranked players in the world, with David Gilbert and Hossein Vafaei replacing the two Chinese players. And in an interview with Mirror Sport, the 2018 finalist lauded the message currently being sent out by the authorities.

“It’s a very touchy subject. I think it’s a real shame the spotlight has been on snooker for this reason," he said. “Firstly, every credit to world snooker for getting on top of it and not letting it happen in our game. Match fixing is obviously unacceptable in this sport and I think that’s being proven at the moment with what’s happened to the players that have been suspended."

But Wilson, 31, stopped short of taking personal shots at the players involved. And he also implied it was difficult for those outside the situation to judge the harrowing saga.

Snooker chief gives match-fixing probe update as he speaks out on lifetime bans rridzziquridttinvSnooker chief gives match-fixing probe update as he speaks out on lifetime bans

“I don’t want to dig them out too much because you never know what’s going on on that side of the world," he added. "And it’s quite worrying that players like Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong have been caught up in this. I just hope their families are ok.”

Kyren Wilson speaks out on “unacceptable” snooker match-fixing scandalYan Bingtao is one Chinese player suspended amid the investigation (Colin Poultney/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock)

The investigation is the largest of its kind to have taken place in snooker. And it's prompted strong opinions from the likes of Shaun Murphy, who argued match fixers should be "terminated" from the game if found guilty.

2020 World Championship runner up Wilson will face Stuart Bingham in his opening match, still seeking a first Triple Crown title. Should he overcome the man he's faced in the previous two years at the Alexandra Palace, a possible meeting with top seed Neil Robertson awaits.

He's not looking beyond Bingham though, saying: “I’m just one game at a time. I never look past the first round. We know the Masters is different because it’s seeded so you are kind of aware of who is where, but I never really pay too much attention to that. If you’re going to win a tournament the calibre of the Masters you have to beat the best in the world."

Fraser Watson

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