Higgins clears his name in fixing probe

JOHN HIGGINS admitted his relief last night after being cleared of all match-fixing allegations made against him by the News of the World.

World Snooker chiefs decided to withdraw charges of “agreeing or offering” to accept bribes after Higgins gave his version of events during a two-day independent tribunal in central London.

Higgins and his manager Pat Mooney were accused of accepting €300,000 (£259,000) to fix the outcome of four future frames during a meeting with undercover reporters in Kiev.

But the three-time world champion insisted he never had any intentions of going through with the deal and only went along with it because he was “spooked” and wanted to get out of the meeting as soon as possible.

Instead, however, the 35-year-old Scot admitted bringing the game into disrepute by not reporting the illegal approach made to him earlier this year to discuss fixing frames.

As a result, Higgins was fined £75,000 and handed a six-month ban, backdated from May when his original suspension began.

In a statement, Higgins said: “I welcome today’s judgement following an exhaustive enquiry into allegations against me by a tabloid newspaper.

“I am pleased that the WPBSA and Sports Resolutions have concluded that I was not guilty of any dishonesty and had no intention of fixing a match and no intention of doing anything corrupt.

“If I’m guilty of anything it’s naivety in trusting those who I believed were working in the best interests of snooker and myself. I admit that I should have informed the WPBSA of the events immediately on my return from Kiev.”

Mooney also had two charges dropped but was banned from taking part in any snooker for life after Mr Ian Mill QC admitted he found “much of his account highly implausible”.