• Snooker

Hearn vows 'fastest possible' action on Higgins case

ESPN staff
May 3, 2010
Barry Hearn has insisted the WPBSA will act quickly

World Snooker supremo Barry Hearn has vowed to act swiftly following the allegations made about world champion John Higgins.

Higgins hit the front page of the News of the World on Sunday, as the Scot was captured on camera agreeing to throw frames for money.

Higgins has been suspended pending the investigation and Hearn has insisted there will be no chance of the inquiry being delayed.

"There will be nothing, I repeat absolutely nothing, that will stop this matter being dealt with in the fastest possible timetable so we can have this matter resolved and get down to concentrating on what we love to concentrate on, this wonderful game." Hearn said.

Hearn classes Higgins as a friend, but insisted a severe penalty will be meted out if he is found guilty.

"Obviously the guy is in bits," Hearn said. "And I can sympathise, empathise, with him because it's been his whole life. The guy is No. 1 in the world.

"We had a very frank conversation because I was in a position to say 'look, I'm not judge and jury here, my job is to refer it to the appropriate authorities. But as a friend, which I would classify myself to John Higgins because I've known him for 20 years, it doesn't look good, John'.

"We all watched the video, we've all seen it. Now, whatever reason there may be behind the scenes - and John has subsequently come out with a statement - I can only judge on the visual evidence that is in front of me.

"I just stressed to John that this is something that is not going away but it will be treated as a very, very serious offence, potentially, and if he is found guilty will carry the most severe of penalties. And obviously that's very upsetting for him, which I can understand because it's his life, his living.

"I believe he's a proud man, I actually believe he's an honest man but I can't ignore the evidence in front of me and the damage potentially it could do to the game."

Higgins has stated that any agreements made were done to protect his own safety, fearing he may be dealing with a form of Ukrainian mafia and has vowed to clear his name.

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