Yu Delu and Cao Yupeng match-fixing: Cheats should be banned for life – Williams

Cao Yupeng

Snooker players caught match-fixing or involved in gambling in the sport should be “banned for life”, says world champion Mark Williams.

China’s Yu Delu has been banned for more than 10 years and compatriot Cao Yupeng for six years. Three and a half years of his sentence are suspended.

“If a life ban is here for everyone to see and they get caught, they know what is coming,” said Welshman Williams.

Six-time world champion Steve Davis said the bans were “wonderful news”.

The BBC Sport pundit added: “Even though you do not want it to happen, we all know it does.

“When money is involved, human frailty gets involved.

“I think it is wonderful news that the integrity committee are wheedling people out. It shows their roots go deeper in finding out the problems in the game.

“It is great news they are caught because it sends a message to everybody. Nobody is safe.”

‘You need to rise above it’

In one of the sport’s biggest corruption scandals, Yu and Cao became the first Chinese players to be banned for cheating after suspicious betting patterns were investigated in numerous matches they played in.

Both players were investigated by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) before an independent tribunal ruled on their cases.

Yu, 31, will serve the longest suspension since English player Stephen Lee was given a 12-year ban in 2013 after admitting to fixing five matches.

In one match, the stakes placed on the result totalled £65,000, which would have generated a profit of £86,000.

Cao, 28, fixed three matches and was world number 38 when initially suspended in May. He reached last year’s Scottish Open final where he was beaten by Australia’s Neil Robertson.

Cao and Robertson

Robertson said: “It is a form of cheating where you are not playing by the same rules as everyone else. That is what makes professional snooker so hard, you need to rise above it.”

Williams, who thrashed fellow Welshman Daniel Wells 6-0 in the second round of the UK Championship on Saturday, added: “It is not good, the headlines on the first TV day of the UK Championship – one of our biggest tournaments. They have got caught and been dealt with. That will be a strict deterrent for anybody else trying it.

“I would like to see it in the player’s contract. Bring it in. Anyone found doing (match-fixing) or anything to do with gambling in snooker, they should get banned for life. You cannot get two, five, seven years. It is the same for all.”

‘Brought dishonour to their country’

Ranked at number 25, Xiao Guodong is one of five Chinese players in the top 32 players in the world and he progressed to the third round of the UK Championship after beating Ben Woollaston 6-3.

Xiao, who could face his country’s number one player Ding Junhui in the next round in York, said he “feels sorry” for Yu and Cao as they “made a mistake”.

Yu Delu

He told BBC Sport: “You have to choose what you can and cannot do. Some people maybe are unable to control that. Yu Delu and Cao Yupeng are good guys and have gone down the wrong path.

“I never gamble or go to the casino, I only focus on the game. If you do not think about the right thing then you will go far down the wrong path. I would not be able to rise up the rankings.

“In England it is easy to go to the casino. In China there are no casinos. You have to tell yourself not to go that way and focus on your snooker. When you come to places like York, it is your job. You have to focus on the match. I want them very much to come here again.”

Former world, UK and Masters champion Shaun Murphy is chairman of the WPBSA Players Commission, which allows WPBSA members to represent their views at board level, and said it is a “bad situation”.

He said on BBC One: “The CBSA (Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association) work very closely with the WPSBA for the development of snooker in China and have spent fortunes investing in the players, sending them to the best academies here.

“The word is that they are fuming, they are livid, bringing dishonour to the game and to their country.”

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