Graeme Dott has praised snooker bosses for doing everything they can to keep match-fixing out of the sport, but admits that opportunities are still there and says: ‘I’ve got no doubt it goes on.’
The game has been hit by match-fixing scandals in the past, with former world number five Stephen Lee the most high profile when he was banned for 12 years in 2013, while Cao Yupeng will return to the tour next season after serving a ban handed out in 2018.
The controversies are few and far between, with no suggestion of an on-going problem in snooker, but Dott believes the sport is ‘open’ to similar scandals as long as betting markets are offered on matches.
‘Overall I think it’s probably as clean as it can be,’ the Scot told the This Sporting Life podcast with Tom English.
‘Anywhere you’ve got online gambling then you’re open to it and not all snooker players are making fortunes which means you’re open to it even more.
‘It’s as clean as it can be. Does it go on? It probably has gone on, no doubt it’s gone on, obviously with the Steve Lee thing.’
Dott actually played in a game that was agreed to be fixed by former professional David John who has now been banned as a result.
Jamie Jones was also banned due to the incident, for failing to report a corrupt approach, while Dott had no idea anything untoward had gone on and assumed he had won the match fair and square.
‘There was actually a match, the Jamie Jones thing, I was playing the guy who was throwing the match,’ Dott explained. ‘I thought I’d played well and won the match! I didn’t know.
‘The thing with that is that it would be hard to know because I would have been a massive favourite to beat him anyway.
‘I think with the bookies I’d have been maybe 1/10, it would have been a massive shock if he’d have won, so I just felt as if I’d played well, I was quite happy with the way I’d played.
‘I was driving home and heard it on the news and though I was getting a fright. I was thinking, “It’s got nothing to do with me!”
‘I phoned Jason Ferguson [chairman of the WPBSA] who told me it was nothing to do with me, it was to do with him [John].’
Jones ended up serving a one-year ban for John’s corruption, which Dott shows that snooker authorities are dealing with match-fixing appropriately, but admits that they cannot guarantee an entirely clean sport.
‘I’ve got no doubt it goes on, but I do think it’s as clean as it can be,’ said Dott.
‘They’re doing well with it, they are punished. Jamie Jones got punished very severely for not doing it himself, he got punished for not grassing his mate in.
‘He only got done because his mate grassed him in! They can’t be seen to be doing anymore, they are punishing people, so as I said, it’s as clean as it can be.’
Jones was hit with a ban despite having nothing to do with match-fixing himself and has certainly learned a lesson the hard way that he should have alerted the authorities when he heard of John’s misconduct.
‘100 per cent if I’m ever in that situation again, and I’ll use my words, I will be grassing the person up,’ Jones said ahead of this year’s World Championship.
‘That’s the way I see it, I’ve learned from it and move on.’
The full interview with Dott is available below.
For more stories like this, check our sport page.