Higgins Says “Not Guilty”

John Higgins has said his "conscience is 100% clear" after he was implicated in a bribery scandal to fix the results of frames at future snooker tournaments.

Higgins issued a statement insisting that he has "never been involved in any form of snooker match-fixing" and that his "conscience is 100% clear".

"Can I say that I have never been involved in any form of snooker match-fixing. In my 18 years playing professional snooker I have never deliberately missed a shot, never mind intentionally lost a frame or a match," he said in a statement read out on the BBC before the start of today's World Championship final.

"In all honesty I became very worried at the way the conversation developed in Kiev. When it was suggested that I throw frames in return for large sums of money, I was really spooked. I just wanted to get out of the hotel and on to the plane home.

"I didn't know if this was the Russian mafia or who we were dealing with. At that stage I felt the best course of action was just to play along with these guys and get out of Russia [sic].

"Those who know me are aware of my love for snooker and that I would never do anything to damage the integrity of the sport I love. My conscience is 100% clear."

Higgins, the world No1, has been suspended from the professional snooker tour pending an investigation following allegations he had agreed to deliberately lose frames in tournaments in return for cash.

Higgins and his manager, Pat Mooney, were alleged by the News of the World to have agreed to accept €300,000 (£261,000) in return for arranging the outcome of four frames in matches to be played later this year during a meeting with the paper's undercover reporters in Ukraine's capital. There was no suggestion that Higgins had accepted any bribe in the past or that he had previously been involved in match-fixing.

The chairman of snooker's governing body, Barry Hearn, said he was "absolutely mortified" following the allegations, adding that Higgins had been immediately suspended and an investigation launched. Mooney has resigned his position on the board of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association.