Chinese snooker star Yu Delu banned 10 years for match-fixing
- Yu’s punishment is the heaviest since England’s Stephen Lee was banned 12 years in 2013
- The former world No 41 is one of two Chinese players to be punished for fixing with Cao Yupeng receiving a six-year ban
China’s Yu Delu has been handed one of the heaviest punishments for match-fixing after the Shanxi-born player was banned from snooker for 10 years and nine months.
The 31-year-old, who reached his highest world ranking of 41 in May, was banned by the international governing body of snooker after the result of a two-year investigation into match-fixing.
Fellow mainlander Cao Yupeng received a six-year ban after he pleaded guilty to fixing, although 3 ½ years of his sentence are suspended. The Chinese pair are the first from the mainland to be banned for cheating. They were investigated after suspicious betting patterns in numerous matches were investigated over a two-year period. The duo had already been suspended from playing in May when the cases were being investigated.
Yu’s punishment is second only to Englishman Stephen Lee’s punishment in 2013 when he received a 12-year ban for match-fixing. Lee made headline news this year when he was caught teaching snooker in Hong Kong without a work permit in June but the case was dismissed in court and he was allowed to return home but was bound over for 12 months for the sum of HK$1,000, meaning he is to refrain from committing or attempting to commit any crimes.
Yu, whose ban is believed to be one of the heaviest by a Chinese athlete or sportsman, is believed to have manipulated the outcome of five matches over a 2 ½ year period. The mainland player was also accused of lying to investigators and failing to cooperate with the inquiry.
Yu’s admission of match-fixing included losing to Kurt Maflin at the Shanghai Masters in November 2017, the last match of the five games he apparently fixed. The match-fixing involved betting in Asia.
Yu was considered one of the rising stars of Chinese snooker having reached the semi-finals of the Scottish Open in 2016. He was ranked 43rd in the world when allegations of match-fixing first surfaced and when he came under investigation in May.
The 28-year-old Cao admitted to fixing three games and was ranked 38 when he was initially suspended in May as well.
Both Yu and Cao were investigated by the snooker governing body, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) before an independent tribunal ruled on their cases.
At the tribunal, Yu was found to have “engaged in deliberate and premeditated corruption to secure substantial financial gain for his friends/associates and himself.”
“It is very sad when talented players are attracted to the opportunity to make money from fixing matches,” said WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson.
In May, Ferguson said the sport’s integrity was in danger. “The decision to suspend any player immediately is a difficult decision to take.
“However, the WPBSA has a duty of care to ensure that snooker’s global integrity is securely preserved, therefore my decision today is to remove any question marks over the sport during the time it takes to bring these matters to formal proceedings.”