x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Higgins 'emotionally drained' by match-fixing claims

John Higgins will "vigorously defend" himself against allegations that he agreed to fix a match and again insisted he is "100 per cent innocent".

John Higgins will "vigorously defend" himself against allegations that he agreed to fix a match and again insisted he is "100 per cent innocent", he said yesterday. The Scot said in a statement that the past few days had been "emotionally draining for me and my family". He said: "In the last week I have experienced a whole range of emotions: despair, frustration, anger, rage and most of all a sense of betrayal."

Higgins was filmed by undercover News of the World reporters who have accused him of agreeing to fix a match. He said he believed the meeting with the journalists was to arrange a series of tournaments in the Ukraine. Yesterday the newspaper also alleged that he had tried to bet against himself in last year's World Championship final. In the statement, the 34-year-old said that he is a director of World Series Snooker which has been working to expand the sport into new markets. He said that he met representatives from a company called Alpha Equity on April 29 this year to explore possibilities in the Ukraine.

"Over the last three years I spent a lot of my time and effort to expand snooker into new territories," Higgins said. "I wanted to take the magic of snooker to towns, cities and countries where people had only ever seen snooker on television. I wanted to act as an ambassador to spread that magic of snooker throughout the world. Despite the events of last week, it is something I believe in from the bottom of my heart."

The three-times world champion is subject to disciplinary proceedings by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. * PA