Jockey BOBBY EL-ISSA DISQUALIFIED FOR TWO YEARS


Ever since horse racing was invented there have been those that have tried to cheat to win money at the races, but when it is as blatant as a jockey basically pulling up a horse and waiting for another to pass him in the straight it cannot be ignored. These days with betfair making anyone basically a bookie, plenty can be made winning or losing, depending on the way you go. Bobby El-lssa is by all accounts a likeable bloke, a damn good jockey with plenty of winners. I have backed him on many occasions, but who can you trust these days, it appears he has been in collusion with friend and big punter Stephen Fletcher to make money by making sure his horse loses…Two years is not enough if they are going to get fair dinkum about this sort of practice. They need to put them out for life…Bring a huge message to these high-profile jockeys, who are very well paid as it is, that cheating is and WILL NOT be tolerated…

See the race here

Racing Queensland stewards found 34-year-old El-Issa guilty of not allowing Bold Glance to run on its merits and giving it every chance to win the $100,000 Falvelon Stakes (1200m) on February 26.

El-Issa was also found guilty of improper riding while stewards also laid a charge against prominent professional punter Stephen Fletcher of being a party to the jockey’s breach of the rules.

Fletcher was granted an adjournment after stewards found he was a party to El-Issa not allowing Bold Glance to run on its merits.

The stewards said their investigations had determined that Fletcher wagered heavily on the winner Essington and had also laid Bold Glance to lose.

They alleged he won $30,000 in bets on Essington and also retained a stake of $55,000 when Bold Glance was beaten due to El-Issa’s ride.

The charge stated that Fletcher was:- (a) aware of jockey El-Isssa’s intention that he not run Bold Glance on its merits; (b) that he made El-Issa aware of his intention to back Essington and lay Bold Glance; and (c) at all material times Fletcher and El-Issa were close associates.

Fletcher was granted an adjournment after being charged to enable him to submit further betting records.
El-Issa was found guilty of not allowing Bold Glance to run on its merits, failing to ride his mount to obtain the best possible finishing position and improper riding.

The charges stated that El-Issa rode in a manner to deprive Bold Glance of its real and legitimate opportunity of winning the race in that after passing the 200m when challenged by Essington he deliberately and consciously rode with insufficient vigour which resulted in Bold Glance not being fully tested and not finishing the race off at its best.

The stewards found that passing the 200m until near the 100m when Bold Glance was holding an advantage over Essington El-Issa deliberately and consciously stopped using the whip and otherwise failed to ride his mount with sufficient vigour.

Leaving the 100m he again, after using the whip in a backhand manner on only two occasions, deliberately and consciously stopped using the whip and over the concluding stages his deliberate and conscious lack of vigour resulted in Bold Glance not being fully tested and thereby did not finish the race off at its best.

Entering court for pretending to be his brother in 2009 to beat traffic charges

The improper riding charge stated that El-Issa deliberately and consciously failed to exercise sufficient vigour inside the final 200m when challenged for the leading position and did so to ensure the success of wagers placed by an associate (Fletcher) who had backed the winner Essington to win and had laid Bold Glance.

In drawing this inference the stewards carefully considered the bet history of Fletcher through the betting exchange Betfair that illustrated a concerning level of confidence when he laid horses ridden by El-Issa.

They found that Fletcher’s bet history revealed that his 10 heaviest risks (lays) on horses in Queensland races were ridden by El-Issa and that he had an abnormally high success rate of more than 90 percent when laying horses ridden by the jockey.

El-Issa was told that the stewards panel was unanimous in their rejection of his explanations for the manner in which he rode Bold Glance over the final 200 metres and that his actions were deliberate and consciously designed to prevent Bold Glance from running on its merits.

They cited his lack of obvious vigour, his body position in the saddle that was inconsistent with his regular position when attempting to derive the best effort from his mounts, the lack of movement through his legs and through his torso which is identifiable in his riding when embroiled in a tight finish, his abbreviated hand movement and the fact that he did not use the whip in a forehand manner at any stage and only used it backhand on three occasions.

This was viewed with attention to the fact that there is no specific prohibition on backhand use of the whip and no prohibition on the use of the whip inside the final 100 metres.

The stewards also took into account that Bold Glance jumped from barrier 1, enjoyed an easy passage on the fence behind the leaders and was afforded clear running at the top of the straight.

The manner in which the race was run and the way the race presented itself favoured the chances of Bold Glance and on this basis the stewards were satisfied that capacity to respond if fully tested.

Trainer Norm Hilton and part-owners Mr W & Mrs T Walsh and Mrs T Hilton also gave evidence at the inquiry. No charges have been laid against any of these parties.

Following his second placing at Eagle Farm, Bold Glance won the $100,000 Gold Coast Stakes on March 19 when ridden by Scott Seamer.

Seamer will again be aboard Bold Glance in Saturday’s Group One George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill.

El-Issa won the $150,000 Weetwood Handicap at Toowoomba on the favourite Lucky Leak on Thursday.

Jockey Bobby El-Issa pretended to be brother

September 17, 2009

A BRISBANE jockey has narrowly escaped being immediately jailed for trying to pass himself off as his brother to police and a magistrate in a bid to avoid a drink-driving offence.

The Brisbane District Court was told Gold-Coast-based Ibrahim “Bobby” El-Issa had been disqualified from driving when police arrested him with a blood alcohol content of 0.059 along Logan Rd, Mt Gravatt, on Brisbane’s southside, on August 30 last year.

Prosecutor Shenna Singh said El-Issa, who had no identification on him at the time, told the arresting officer his name was Ameer El-Issa — who is actually his brother who lives interstate.

She said El-Issa continued his ruse when he fronted the Holland Park Magistrate’s Court and again when he surrendered to police when a warrant was issued for his arrest for failing to appear for his second court appearance.

The court was told it was not the first time El-Issa held himself out as one of his siblings in an attempt to avoid a traffic offence.

Ms Singh said El-Issa claimed to be another brother — Jawad El-Issa — when he was pulled over for a minor traffic offence on October 29, 2007.

El-Issa came unstuck on that occasion because the police officer recognised him and rebuffed by saying: “Aren’t you Bobby El-Issa?”

The court was told El-Issa may have continued to avoid justice had police not taken his fingerprints when he turned himself in after the warrant for his brother, Ameer, was issued.

El-Issa, 33, pleaded guilty to one count each of perverting the course of justice, drunk driving and obstructing and contravening a police direction.

Judge Wally Tutt sentenced El-Issa to a 15-month, wholly suspended, jail term and fined him $2500.

Barrister Steve Kissick, for El-Issa, said he was a successful professional jockey who faced losing the only job he had been trained to do as the result of his offending.

“I think it can be said quite safely that his job is gone,” Mr Kissick said.

“(El-Issa) has to go before (Queensland Racing’s) integrity board to make it known (he has been convicted of these charges).

Judge Tutt said: “Obviously, no doubt his position (as a jockey) will be reviewed by the Queensland Racing Board. I am aware of the process.”

However, he said there have been other cases where jockeys have been convicted of serious criminal offences and later had their jockey’s licenses re-instated.

Judge Tutt, in sentencing El-Issa, said the jockey’s actions had placed his brother in a legally vulnerable position had his criminal behaviour not been detected.

“The innocent person here … was your brother,” he said.

“The reason this is so serious … is because it cuts at the very core of our justice system.”

Outside court, El-Issa said this matter had been “haunting” him for the past eight months and he was now looking forward to the birth of his first child later this year.

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John Higgins banned for six months – but cleared of match-fixing


This guy is a disgrace, all they have done is put some spin on a downright cheat, never to be trusted in a game of snooker again…ever…If they did nothing wrong, why did Manager Mooney get life ban? Why did Higgins get six months and fined 75,000 pounds? What a game fixing farce sport is becoming.Gambling has ruined sport forever…

John Higgins banned for six months – but cleared of match-fixing

• Higgins cleared of most serious charge by tribunal
• Manager Pat Mooney banned from snooker for life

John Higgins hearing
John Higgins outside the tribunal hearing. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty

Snooker‘s world No1 John Higgins has been banned for six months and fined £75,000 for breaching rules around betting – but has been cleared of the most serious charge of match-fixing.

Higgins was suspended in May after the News of the World alleged he and his manager Pat Mooney had agreed at a meeting in Kiev to lose frames in four matches in return for £261,000.

The World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn immediately suspended Higgins and vowed to clean up the sport when the story was published. However, Mooney and Higgins vigorously protested their innocence, claiming they felt intimidated and would have gone along with anything at the meeting to get home.

At the hearing, Higgins admitted “intentionally giving the impression to others that they were agreeing to act in breach of the betting rules” and failing to report the matter to World Snooker.

However, the more serious charges of “agreeing or offering” to accept bribes and “agreeing to engage in corrupt or fraudulent conduct” were withdrawn by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association following the two-day hearing in London.

Higgins, who will also pay £10,000 towards the hearing’s costs, had his six-month ban backdated to May, when his original suspension began.

Mooney, ruled to have placed Higgins in “a highly invidious position” by being “entirely responsible for Mr Higgins’ presence in Kiev”, has been banned from further involvement in snooker for life.

After the hearing, Higgins said in a statement: “I welcome today’s judgment by Sport Resolutions and endorsed by the WPBSA following their exhaustive inquiry into the allegations against me by a tabloid newspaper.

“I am pleased that Sport Resolutions and WPBSA have concluded, after a thorough and fair investigation, that I was not guilty of any dishonesty and had no intention to fix a match and no intention to do anything corrupt.”

He pledged to return to snooker a “stronger person” and added: “I accept the decision to suspend me for six months and impose a fine of £75,000.

“Those who run WPBSA have made it plain that if the sport is to advance it must be above reproach and those of us playing and involved in snooker must be cleaner than clean.

“Those who know me will appreciate that I have tried to encourage and advance snooker. I have tried to be an ambassador for the sport.” what a load of rubbish

He described the past few months as “traumatic” and said: “It has been made all the more hurtful by the knowledge that I never have, and never would, fix a snooker match. I have been sustained by the love and support of my wife, family and friends.”

The World Snooker champion John Higgins Scandal


MILLIONAIRE World Snooker champion John Higgins is captured here on camera shaking hands on a disgraceful deal to fix a string of high-profile matches after demanding a £300,000 kickback.

The scandal will cast a dark shadow over the final of this year’s championship which starts today and disgust the millions of fans tuning into the BBC to watch their sporting idols.

John Higgins caught on camera agreeing to a massive bribe to fix World Series snooker matches

After 34-year-old Higgins’ shock defeat in the tournament at the hands of veteran Steve Davis, he flew to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and in a meeting with undercover News of the World investigators on Friday shamelessly:

  • AGREED to deliberately LOSE frames in four matches so that illegal gambling syndicates could clean up.
  • HAGGLED over the best ways to cover up the bribe – finally settled at Euro 300,000 (£261,000).
  • BRAGGED it was “easy” to fool fans into believing they were watching genuine snooker action.

Astonishingly, the entire deal was set up and agreed with Higgins’ agent Pat Mooney, a board memeber of the World Professional Snooker and Billiards Association and one of the sport’s top four officials charged with POLICING the game.

At first, Greedy Mooney and Higgins saw the chance of making a legal fortune out of our team, who were posing as businessmen interested in organising a series of events linked to the World Snooker Series – effectively a European Tour of snooker.

But they could not resist the lure of making extra illegal cash on the side from game fixing.

During the 10-minute conversation that sealed their crooked deal Higgins never once questioned the legality or morality of cheating for cash.

Instead he was more interested in how he could HIDE the massive payments he’d get.

Asked by our man if there was any danger he might not be able to deliver on his promise to lose a certain frame, Higgins – who was awarded the MBE for his services to sport – insisted: “It’s easy, it’s easy!”

Then came the subject of how he’d get paid and he bleated:

“But then I’m thinking to myself how do I swallow 300,000 pounds or Euros coming in. . . ?”

Father-of-three Higgins – who has won the coveted world crown three times and is nicknamed the Wizard of Wishaw – was not worried about the disgrace his tricks could bring on the game.

He was more concerned about covering his back.

Dressed in a pin-striped suit, Higgins at one point even jokingly asked if there were hidden cameras in the plush Kiev hotel suite – little suspecting that every word WAS being captured by our team, who he’d met for the first time just hours earlier.

Having raised the subject of match fixing with Higgins’ grasping manager Mooney at previous meetings, our investigators sat down with the two men on Friday morning to sort out the mechanics of the scam.

The idea agreed earlier by Mooney was for Higgins to deliberately lose four frames in separate tournaments. Now the player himself had to rubber-stamp the details. . .

REPORTER: “Right, this will purely be four, we’ll shake hands on it and that’s the end of the matter. But more important is how would you lose a frame? That’s what I want to know, how would that work?

“Because, you know, you’re the bloody world champion!”

HIGGINS: “Who would it be against?”

REPORTER: “Well you tell me. I mean. . . you can’t lose against a Ukrainian player here and then go to Warsaw and lose against a Polish, go to bloody Prague and lose against a Czech.

“That’s stupid, that’s plain stupid. And it doesn’t make financial sense for these guys (the shady betting syndicates financing the proposed events).

“It has to be against somebody that is. . .”

HIGGINS: “Against somebody that’s goodish and it’s easier.”

REPORTER: “Against someone like one of the other boys (meaning other top names who’d be joining in the tournament). No one needs to know.”

Mooney and Higgins then suggested THREE prominent stars of the game by name.

HIGGINS: “It’s easy. Its easy.”

MOONEY: “You make one mistake. . .”

HIGGINS: “You don’t even have to make a mistake.”

REPORTER: “You have to be sure if you’re going to tell him ‘Frame three I’m going to lose.”

HIGGINS: “Oh yeah. Frame three I’m going to lose, yes, yes.”

REPORTER: “Yeah, but I mean what if he gets a good break? What’s the risk factor I mean?”

HIGGINS: “No risk. No, because you can miss.”

Having agreed to the proposed deal, Higgins and Mooney were keen to discuss the money – even suggesting that it be hidden as a payment for wearing a sponsor’s logo on Higgins’ waistcoat.

And they raised the possibility the illicit payment be hidden as a sponsorship deal which, under EU rules, would allow them to avoid tax.

Not that the star needs the money – he has banked more than £5 million prize money since turning professional in 1992 and winning his first tournament two years later.

As the talks continued, Higgins – now playing an active role in the discussions – had his own ideas about how the cash could be paid over without raising the suspicions of the authorities.

Turning to Mooney, he said: “I’ve got a property in Spain.

“I’m thinking to myself… is there any way. . . if you get a small mortgage or something on the property and you can pay it off. Would they look me out if you paid it off in a lump sum?”

Mooney replied: “They would be asking where that money came from.”

All Higgins’ ducking and diving will shock fans who admire his straightforward family image. The keen Celtic supporter married wife Denise in 2000 and have two sons and a daughter. Earlier this year the couple appeared on ITV’s Mr and Mrs show which they won. And after last year’s World Championship victory, Higgins paid a special tribute to his wife.

He said: “Denise is the biggest drive behind me these days.

“I think all snooker players can get a bit selfish and lazy. You get down on yourself and start to think you won’t win anything ever again. Then it’s up to the wives, who are basically kicking you up the backside and telling you that you are good enough.”

Denise will be telling him something else today.

For, still obsessed with his own safety and hiding the illicit payments rather than the image of snooker itself, Higgins told our men: “I’m just frightened that obviously. . . “

MOONEY: “That it comes up on the radar?”

HIGGINS: “It is a hell of a lot of money.”

REPORTER: “For a professional bloody snooker player? I mean you earned something like close to a million last year didn’t you? The books show you earned 500 something thousand.”

HIGGINS: “Yeah, what I am saying is that it is a hell of a lot of money. . . “

MOONEY: “. . . to kind of appear.”

Then Higgins seems to be wondering how much the backroom paymasters will making.

HIGGINS: “Let me get this straight. For four frames, so you’re thinking, divide that, £75,000. You’ve got to earn more than that per frame.”

REPORTER: “Don’t you worry about our side. You worry about your side. How you want to get paid?”

HIGGINS: “I’m not worrying about your side.”

As the conversation continued, our reporter once again checked that Higgins was clear about what was expected of him, losing four separate frames, one per tournament.

Higgins simple damning response was a definite: “Yes!”

Moments later the snooker star and his agent rose to their feet and shook hands to seal their dodgy deal.

READ MORE: SECRET NOTES, GREED & CONSPIRACY

Top boss pledges enquiry

SNOOKER’S top official Barry Hearn was “mortified” to learn of the bribery scandal – and pledged an immediate inquiry.

Mr Hearn. Chairman of the World Professional Snooker and Billiards Association – of which Mooney is also a senior executive – said it was “a massive blow to the integrity of the sport.”

The shocked sports boss said: “Mooney is a fellow director on the WPBSA, I am absolutely mortified.

“He is someone I am working with closely on the rejuvenation and revitalisation of snooker.

“He is in a very responsible position.

“If these allegations against the World Champion John Higgins and Mooney are true it is a very serious matter indeed and a massive, massive blow to the integrity of the sport.

“We have stringent disciplinary procedures for players bringing the game into disrepute.

“My views about cheating are well known.

“We will launch an immediate inquiry which will be led by former Chief superintendent David Douglas who I appointed to the board only last week.

“It’s a very serious matter that we will look into immediately and take firm action.”

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More on the Scandal

DISGRACED snooker star John Higgins is today exposed for the second time in a week – attempting to bet against HIMSELF during last year’s World Championship Final.

The three-times world champ was suspended from the sport last week after the News of the World caught him on camera agreeing to a massive £261,000 bribe to deliberately lose frames in four separate matches.

Now we can reveal how Higgins shamefully tried to cash in on the most important fixture in world snooker at the revered home of the sport – the Crucible in Sheffield.

In a break during the May bank holiday weekend final, Higgins made a secret mobile phone call to bookmakers Ladbrokes to ask for odds on him LOSING to opponent Shaun Murphy at some stage in the match.

Using a password to access his personal account, he then tried to place a substantial wager, telling the operator: “I just want to cover myself.”

Amazingly the 34-year-old Scot – guaranteed £125,000 prize money even if he lost – added: “I don’t want to walk away without anything.”

But Higgins’ outrageous attempt to bag an extra payout was thwarted when Ladbrokes’ call centre betting clerk sought advice from her manager and rejected the bet.

Crisis

In the end, Higgins – watched by three million unsuspecting British fans plus many millions more around the globe – turned a commanding lead on the Sunday into a crushing 18-9 victory on the Monday, clinching the championship and £250,000 prize.

Our shock new revelations will plunge the sport of snooker into a deeper crisis and could prove the final nail in the coffin of the Bothwell star’s once glittering career.

Now, already under official investigation over his match-fixing deal with our undercover team in the Ukraine last week, he is likely to face a further probe and could even be stripped of that 2009 title.

Our source contacted us in the wake of our scoop last Sunday exposing Higgins and his agent Patrick Mooney.

The former Ladbrokes worker has sworn a legal affidavit and provided detailed information to back up her story. Last night she told us how she had been following Higgins’ fantastic form on TV at the call centre office in Aintree, Liverpool – closed by the company two months ago – when the star rang in.

She revealed: “I was watching the game on the big screen when the players got up and walked off for an interval. Higgins was well ahead at the time, he was on fire.

“Then about five minutes later the phone rang so I answered and asked for the account ID. He gave me his name and password but I knew it was him straight away from the soft Scottish accent.

“All his notes came up on the account. His name, password, address, phone number, and there was also a security box on screen which said he was a professional snooker player.

“I was totally starstruck. I couldn’t believe it. One minute I’d been watching him on TV, the next thing he was on the phone to me.”

But the worker – who had been with the call centre for nearly three years – was shocked as Higgins asked for the odds on Murphy.

Our source said: “He wanted to place a bet on Murphy winning. He wanted to bet AGAINST himself. I can’t remember if it was for him to lose the next frame, the next session or the whole match.

“I can’t remember exactly how much he wanted to bet but the figure £1,000 sticks in my mind. I said to him, ‘Why do you want to do that? You’re well ahead.’ Then he said, ‘I just want to cover myself.’ And he added that he didn’t want to walk away without anything. But he was doing so well in the match, a bomb would have had to come through the roof for him to lose. He was doing brilliantly. I remember thinking, ‘Why bet against yourself?’

“It was such an important match. The world final. The prize money from winning was huge. Why would you take the risk of betting on a game like that?”

Check

The Ladbrokes clerk immediately realised the bet was against all the rules – and went to see her boss while Higgins stayed on the line.

“I just told him that before I could place the bet I’d have to check,” she recalled. “I was nice and friendly with him and then I went to talk to my manager who was sat behind me. I explained who it was and what he wanted and was simply told, ‘No, in no circumstances can you take that bet.’ To be honest I already knew that and I think Higgins would have done too.

“When I got back onto him I said that unfortunately, on this occasion, he wasn’t allowed to bet because it was a match or tournament he was involved in. He must have known that, but he just said ‘Oh, I didn’t realise.’ I thought he was pulling my leg. He must have known he couldn’t bet on his own match.”

When Higgins hung up, the worker passed all the details on to her manager. He in turn sent the information to the company’s main headquarters in Harrow, Middlesex.

All calls made to the Aintree centre were recorded and archived at the head office. Our source added: “There’ll be a log of everything that happened. The call would have been recorded and the time and date will have been logged.

“There’ll be a record of me opening his account and a record of my manager reporting it to head office. All the details were sent. There’ll be a record of all this.”

After her five-hour shift our source went home and told her boyfriend what had happened.

“I was straight on the phone to him,” she said. “He couldn’t believe it. Snooker is one of the sports I really like, that and football. That’s why I was so starstruck when Higgins called.

“But after my boss took all the details and reported what happened I didn’t hear anything more. As far as I was concerned we did the right thing. We didn’t allow the bet and then we reported it. I don’t know what happened after that.”

She believes the would-be bet was for around £1,000, as anything higher would have attracted the attention of the Ladbrokes traders – the people who fix the odds and look out for big or unusual bets.

Contempt

She said: “Higgins’ account wasn’t on the elite line, that’s for high rollers who stake a lot.

“If it had been a big bet then it would have been flagged and the screen would have gone red. That’s when the traders have a look at the account and have to okay it.

“As Higgins was well in front at the time the odds on Murphy would have been a lot higher.”

Snooker’s governing body, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association and its boss Barry Hearn will be appalled that Higgins treated the most important tournament in its calendar with such contempt.

The agony will be particularly acute because the scandal centres on the Crucible – the Wembley of world snooker, where greats such as Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Dennis Taylor have triumphed.

Higgins’ behaviour threatens the credibility of the entire tournament broadcast live by the BBC and around the world by Eurosport.

Astonishingly, as we were checking out the Ladbrokes story yesterday an emotional Higgins was almost in tears giving us an exclusive interview in a Glasgow lawyer’s office, claiming he was an innocent party in the £261,000 match-fixing scandal. Snooker’s former world No 1 vowed: “I’ll be back. John Higgins is a fighter.”

Despite damning video evidence seen by millions on our website at notw.co.uk, Higgins insisted he is not guilty and claimed he would clear his name. But he admitted that for the first time in his life he is not now in control of his own destiny.

Looking drained, the dad of three referred to his current suspension from the sport and said: “It won’t be the end of seeing John Higgins at the snooker table.

“I’ve never deliberately missed a shot, intentionally lost a frame, intentially lost a match.”

But, for legal reasons, he declined to answer a string of questions about the corrupt deal he was prepared to do with our undercover investigators at their meetings in the Ukraine, where he was asked how he could cover up the cheating and bragged: “It’s easy.”

Instead he declared mysteriously: “My fans will understand this better as events unfold.”

The battered star then went on to describe the rollercoaster of pain his actions have brought on himself and loyal wife Denise, 33, since our sensational story broke last weekend.

Pain

He confessed: “There has been a whole range of emotions, despair, frustration, anger, rage. The biggest sense is betrayal. Where do you start? Where do you start?

“The despair is that I’ve been playing this sport since I was 10 years old. I have always conducted myself in a way I was brought up by my mum and dad. Then, with my own family round about me, I just couldn’t believe these things were happening to me. They will never happen to me again.

“I’ve had many low points in my career, losing matches, but I’ve always fought back and that’s what I intend to do with this.”

Speaking of the moment he learned of our story, he admitted: “It has been a low point, it has been a low point. My first emotion was thinking ‘How has this all happened?’

“But as the days went on I realised what the goal is, to clear my name of these charges of cheating and match fixing.

“I know I am 100 per cent innocent. So there’s no doubt in my mind that the goal is to be back playing snooker next year.

Impact

“The worst point has probably been seeing the publicity and how this has affected my family.”

Describing the devastating impact on his wife and three children, Higgins said: “I think anyone can understand that whenever you see your family upset, they’re all that matter to you. Everyone has been strong for me. Saturday night seems so long ago now. The first day or two was a blur, that’s all I can say. A total blur.”

Higgins denied reports he had been on the brink of taking his own life, saying his family had helped him to cope. “I certainly wasn’t suicidal,” he insisted. Asked if tears were shed, he replied: “Of course there were – lots of them. If I’m being honest there was a whole mix of emotions. It has been tough, it really has been tough.”

But Higgins suddenly clammed up when we asked him about our new discovery of his attempt to bet against himself. He gave no reaction and looked at his lawyer Philip Rodney, of Burness solicitors, who said: “This is news to me. I have no knowledge of this. We can get you a statement on this.”

Higgins’ spokesman said: “We have to discuss this and get back to you.” An hour later the spokesman called our reporter with the response: “No comment.”

Last night WBPSA chairman Barry Hearn asked us to pass our dossier of evidence.

A senior member of the governing body said: “There appears to be a clear breach of the Code of Conduct which will be investigated along with the other allegations already made against Mr Higgins. There are clear rules laid out for players on the issue of gambling.”