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Zhao Xintong: Former UK champion to miss Masters after deciding not to appeal suspension into alleged match-fixing

Former UK champion Zhao Xintong opts against appealing suspension and will miss next week's Masters at Alexandra Palace; bans for Zhao and and Zhang Jiankang take the number of players suspended from the World Snooker Tour during the investigation into alleged match-fixing to 10

Cazoo UK Championship - Day One - York Barbican
China�s Zhao Xintong in action against England�s Sam Craigie (not pictured) during day one of the Cazoo UK Snooker Championship at the York Barbican. Picture date: Saturday November 12, 2022.
Image: Zhao Xintong has been suspended during an ongoing investigation into alleged match-fixing and will now miss The Masters at Alexandra Palace

Former UK champion Zhao Xintong will miss The Masters after joining the list of players suspended from the World Snooker Tour amid an investigation into alleged match-fixing.

Zhao, who beat Luca Brecel to win the 2021 UK Championship title, and Zhang Jiankang, the world No 82, were on Tuesday banned from attending or competing on the Tour with immediate effect.

Zhao has since opted against appealing his suspension and will not feature in next week's Triple Crown event at Alexandra Palace, with his spot taken by Iran's Hossein Vafaei.

Former Masters champion Yan Bingtao and seven other Chinese players had already been suspended by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA).

"This decision is part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of manipulating the outcome of matches for betting purposes in breach of the WPBSA Conduct Regulations," a statement from the WPBSA read.

"The suspension will remain in place until the conclusion of the investigation or any subsequent charges that may or may not be brought. Both Zhao and Zhang have the right to appeal this decision.

"The WPBSA can confirm that the wider investigation is now at an advanced stage, and it is anticipated will be completed shortly at which point any potential charges will be considered.

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"No further comment will be made at this time, except in the event of any significant further developments."

World No 56 Liang Wenbo was the first player to be suspended as part of the investigation in October, with Lu Ning, Li Hang, Zhao Jianbo, Bai Langning, Chang Bingyu and Chen Zifan suspended in December.

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