A SNOOKER ace has spoken of his relief at being cleared after he was caught up in a match-fixing probe.
A match last year involving Ross Muir was investigated by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) due to unusual betting patterns.
The 18-year-old from Musselburgh, East Lothian, was taking part in the Shanghai Masters qualifying stage in England last year when he beat Thailand’s Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon by five frames to nil.
Unusually high sums of money were said to have been placed on the cue-wielding whizz kid to win – causing bookmakers to suspend betting.
The teenager was “shocked” to discover the match had placed his name in the frame.
However, with the governing body clearing him of any wrong doing, the relieved sportsman is now keen to move forward with his career .
Ross said: “I have always known that I had done nothing wrong. The investigation wasn’t focused on me so I have tried to just put it all to the back of my mind and focus on practising.
“Initially I was shocked because I didn’t fully understand what was being alleged.
“Since then I have just kept my head down and focused on my job as a professional snooker player which is something I am very proud of and something that I am working hard to make sure continues at the end of my two-year tour card.”
After the match it was announced that Muir’s was one of two matches from the tournament being investigated by snooker authorities after betting irregularities. The WPBSA said it had carried out a full inquiry and had found no evidence to show players were involved in a pattern of suspicious betting activity.
A spokesman said: “The WPBSA’s investigation process included liaising with partners in the betting industry and conducting inquiries in the UK and Thailand.
“Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon and Passakorn Suwannawat were interviewed by the WPBSA as part of this process. The WPBSA have not found evidence to show any link between the Thai players and the suspicious betting activity. The WPBSA will therefore take no further action in relation to this suspicious betting.”
Powerful Far Eastern betting syndicates are believed to wager millions on the outcomes of sporting fixtures – their tentacles reaching all the way to sportsmen who they corrupt with cash. Cricket, horse racing and snooker are all believed to have been targeted by shady figures from this dark world in recent years.
One Police Scotland source said corruption officers keep abreast of all the latest intelligence and work closely with bookies to ensure no such problems emerge here. “More often than not, runs of cash on a sporting fixture are caused by a rumour gone wild rather than corruption,” the officer said.