Alfie Burden has been handed a six-month ban suspended for one year and fined £5,000 for multiple breaches of snooker’s betting rules.
The 40-year-old Londoner was found to have placed around 86 bets on matches involving himself and other tour players over a period from 2006 up until 2016.
There is no suggestion though that Burden, twice a ranking-event quarter-finalist last year, was acting corruptly or with intent to fix matches.
And the five bets placed by Burden on himself from 2006 to 2007 in accumulators were all for him to win.
Snooker’s rules were tightened up in 2009 to include players betting on any professional matches, rather than just ones involving themselves.
Jason Ferguson, chairman of the WPBSA, said “It is a key part of any sports integrity strategy that players cannot bet on their sport.
“Alfie Burden put his career at risk by so doing and it is only through his full admissions and his cooperation with the Disciplinary Committee that he has avoided a career-ending suspension.”
World No65 Burden enjoyed one of his better years in 2016, reaching the last eight in two tournaments – at the China Open, and European Masters.
And he also made his only career 147 maximum break at the English Open just two months ago.
Burden was a former Arsenal FC apprentice, but had to give up football after suffering a badly broken leg break at Swindon. He also took to the boxing ring for a debut bout three years ago.
The full WPBSA statement read as follows: "After a hearing before the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee that took place on 19th December 2016 Alfie Burden admitted to the following breaches of the WPBSA Betting Rules:
“Prior to August 2009 the WPBSA Members Rules stated:
2.7 A Player shall not bet or lay bets on the result, score or any other aspect of any snooker or billiards match in which he is playing or cause any such bet to be placed or laid on his behalf.
Post August 2009 The WPBSA Members Rules Betting Rules state:
2. Betting misconduct
2.1 It shall be a breach of these Rules for a Member to do any of the following:
22.214.171.124 to place, accept, lay or otherwise make a Bet with any other person in relation to the result, score, progress, conduct or any otheraspect of the Tour and/or any Tournament or Match in events sanctioned by the WPBSA, WSL or WBL;
“He was suspended from playing in WPBSA sanctioned events for a period of six months. This suspension is suspended in full until 1st January 2018 and will only be invoked upon a proven breach of the WPBSA Members Rules, Section 2, Betting Rules. He was fined £5,000.
“The facts of the case are that between 30th September 2006 and 4th February 2010 Mr Burden placed in the region of 50 bets on snooker with an online betting operator. Between 30thSeptember 2006 and 22nd November 2007 Mr Burden placed 5 bets on his own matches. In each case the bet was for him to win as was part of an accumulator with other snooker matches from the same tournament.
“Between 5th July 2013 and 29th November 2016 Mr Burden placed 36 bets on snooker with another online betting operator. The bets were mainly accumulator style bets. None of these bets involved his own matches, but it did include bets on tournaments Mr Burden competed in.”
Picture courtesy of World Snooker