John Higgins, the fourth ranked snooker player in the world, returned to competition yesterday after a six-month suspension for his involvement in a match-fixing scandal. Higgins defeated Joe Jogia 4-2 in a first round match at the European Players Tour championship in Hamm, Germany.
In April of this year, Higgins was set up by a News of the World sting operation in which a reporter pretending to be a wealthy businessman offered to pay Higgins to throw an upcoming snooker match. Though Higgins was ultimately cleared of the more serious charge of match fixing, the World Professional Billiards & Snooker Association (WPBSA) found him guilty of failing to report the incident. For this, Higgins was fined £75k and suspended for six months.
Understandably, Higgins was apprehensive about his return to the spotlight, comparing it to a trip to the dentist. It probably didn’t help that the WPBSA chose yesterday to promote its new confidential hotline to report suspicious activities. Regardless, with his first win under his belt, Higgins moves on to face Dave Harold at the EPT. Here’s hoping Higgins finds it more like a cleaning, and less like a root canal.