July 26, 2010

John Higgins: NOTW will only hand over original tape if he doesn't sue.

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:46 pm

Higgins: Determined to clear his name.

The boys and girls at Sporting Intelligence have been busy again and are reporting that the News of the World, which ran edited footage on its website in May supposedly showing John Higgins agreeing to lose frames for money, will not hand over the full unedited tapes unless the three times world champion agrees not to sue them at any point in the future.

According to the article:

Now, in the latest extraordinary twist in the case, sportingintelligence can reveal that the News of the World has intimated that Higgins should agree not to sue the paper in relation to this case. The NotW has requested the same thing of Higgins’ business partner, Pat Mooney, who was the principal target of the paper’s “long con” sting. Higgins and Mooney have understandably declined to agree to any such thing, reserving the right to sue the paper for libel at some later stage if they choose.

Sportingintelligence further understands that as a result of Higgins and Mooney declining to give up their right to sue, the News of the World has yet to hand over “evidence” to the (separate) legal teams of Higgins and Mooney. According to one source with insight into the News of the World’s thinking, the paper does not want its evidence analysed or scrutinised without the safety net of an agreement that it won’t be sued. “The paper is protecting its position,” one ‘informed’ (sic) source says.


  • Higgins and Mooney have both been issued with a “charge sheet” by the WPBSA, and while this website does not know the precise charges, it is understood they are “general” including failure to report an approach about betting / fixing, and bringing the game into disrepute.
  • the WPBSA investigation established that Mooney (as he himself always said) had much more contact with the News of the World’s reporters, who posed as fake businessmen and fake gangsters during the sting, than Higgins, who one source described as having “peripheral involvement”.
  • the tribunal hearing in early September will be chaired, according to a source, by Ian Mill, QC, a leading silk with an array of sports law cases on his CV.

I had a feeling that we’d hear something on this when the attention was turned elsewhere, try typing Higgins and Snooker into Google and you’ll see what I mean…interesting times.

Whilst I hope that John is completely cleared of any wrongdoing, part of me feels that despite the professionalism of this piece and legal aspects and the ins and the outs of things, this story is nothing new. Newspapers behave badly (shock horror) and take advantage of greedy people (even more shock horror) – nothing can be proved either way and so shall it be, no more questions as it’s always been that way, now run along.

There is an understandable shared hope amongst snooker fans that John is found innocent but this piece still doesn’t alter the fact that Stan and Ollie came out with that Russian Mafia nonsense and failed to report anything to the governing body despite ‘fearing for their lives’.

If John, as he should have done had maintained a dignified silent innocence and hadn’t concocted this ridiculous story then I think he’d be being seen in a better light after this news. He’s been very stupid and very very badly advised. Max Clifford should have been on speed dial the second the story broke.

I wonder if they will divulge who put them onto Mooney? Will they/he be hung out to dry? Whoever you are, in the words of a far better man, Jack Karnehm ‘Good luck mate’. I think you’re going to need it. Names don’t get bigger than Higgins so I’d imagine you are next in line, probably a far more ruthless piece and very probably the end of your career.

Lots of things going on here that we know little or nothing about people.

Anyway, the full article can be read here.

More importantly a tribute to Alex Higgins is being broadcast on Radio 5Live tonight at 9pm, with Clive Everton amongst the contributors. If it isn’t available to blog readers further afield I will do my best to locate a link where you can also listen tomorrow.

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