July 18, 2010

Davis confirms players 'bet on themselves losing'

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:04 am

Steve wants snooker to be whiter than white

An article in the Daily Star today quotes none other than Steve Davis as saying that lots of players have been known to bet on themselves to lose a snooker match.

The Nugget is quoted as saying ‘Players having a bet is not uncommon. Lots of players have been known to have a bet on themselves to win matches or have a bet with their opponents’.

He continues that ‘I have also known boys to bet on themselves losing as an insurance bet if they don’t win’.

‘That doesn’t mean in any way they want to lose. But they saw it as a consolation prize if they did. I have also known players who have notched up the highest break so far in a tournament and then had a bet on it being beaten, as insurance’.

Now I might be a bit naive here but whether it is an insurance bet or not I reckon that this kind of caper is bang out of order.

Why should players have the god given right to do this just because they are professional snooker players and in a position to do so? What is to stop them from betting so much that it is actually in their best financial interests to lose?

I’m surprised at someone like Steve saying this, not that he is condoning it, but very much in the way Dennis Taylor insinuated recently, he doesn’t at least on the face of it really appear to think that it is actually wrong.

He does go on to say that deliberately losing a match for financial gain is something that nobody could ever condone, but who is to say that this hasn’t been going on for years given the players apparent penchant for a bet on their opponents?

As reported here Barry Hearn slapped a blanket ban on all betting by the players and I think he was right to do so. OK, you can never stop it, but the threat of being caught may act as a deterrent and make them think twice before giving the nod to a circle of friends to back the other bloke.

Jay Bee is still competing while Higgins is banned.

This insurance thing on the breaks winds me up too. The fact that the old school such as daft Dennis seem to think that this again is somehow a ‘right’ is just the thoughts of a greedy man from a greedy generation.

A fellow blogger told me recently that back in the golden days of snooker, there was someone who watched the filming of the BBC’s Pot Black in December and then managed to get a bet on it with the bookies when it was being shown on TV later in the year, safe in the knowledge that he knew exactly who the winner was. I wonder how many of the players of yesteryear did that too?

The modern day good players still get well paid for their efforts and are in a privileged enough position, so why should they reap further rewards, insurance or otherwise, from the gambling industry just because they are at the top of their profession?

Of course this article also goes on to mention John Higgins and Steve reiterates the shock that everyone felt and still feels after seeing ‘that tape’.

He says ‘We are all in limbo until a final verdict is announced. It doesn’t look good for Higgins from the evidence that was reported’.

‘But I understand there are a lot of other details about the matter that are being looked at. We will not know the full truth until the investigation is over’ added the Nugget.

As well as the Higgins affair there is also the small matter of Jamie Burnett and Stephen Maguire, a case that has lasted so long it would have out-grinded Cliff Thorburn in his prime. The cops seem to wait until the next World Championship is about to commence to make an annual announcement on this one.

I hope that both these matters are sorted out soon for the good of the sport. It’s been a positive start under Hearn and it would be nice to keep the momentum going without all this being dragged up every few months. We expect to hear John’s fate within a fortnight, the Burnett one is anyone’s guess.

The full Daily Star article is here.

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