Ronnie O'Sullivan: 'I was offered £20,000 to throw a snooker match'
World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan says he met a fixer 10 years ago but turned down the offer
In his new autobiography, Running, Ronnie O'Sullivan claims he met a fixer in Epping Forest, Essex, 10 years ago but turned down a £20,000 offer to throw frames
10 Oct 2013
Ronnie O’Sullivan has revealed he was offered £20,000 to lose a Premier League match 10 years ago.
The five-times world champion said he was contacted by a fixer who arranged to meet him in Epping Forest, Essex. During their 15-minute meeting, the man told O’Sullivan that he could make around £20,000 if he intentionally lost specified frames.
Writing in his new autobiography, Running, the 37-year-old also claims that he knows of seven or eight players who have thrown frames or matches at the request of betting fixers, including a couple of players at the top of the game.
O’Sullivan said that the fixer was someone he tried to steer clear of, and that he could have got away with throwing a frame by playing left-handed, or one-handed, or by giving the impression he was “going nuts”.
He said he had no interest in taking up the fixer’s offer because he is a “compulsive truth teller” and that the pair respectfully parted ways.
“Someone rang me and said he’d like to meet me over in the forest and have a walk through the woods. I knew the fella, and it was someone you don’t want to mess around with,” he writes. “What they were offering me, 20 grand, I could get for a couple of nights’ work.”
Stephen Lee was recently banned for 12 years for match-fixing, after which O’Sullivan wrote on Twitter: “I’ve heard there’s many more players who throw snooker matches. I suppose Steve Lee was just caught out.
“I just love putting it out there bring it all out in the open. Nothing like a bit of transparency is what I say. No need to worry if you got nothing to hide. But plenty of people have got loads to hide.”
In his autobiography, to be published on Friday, O’Sullivan recalls the exchange he had with the fixer 10 years ago.
“ ‘You’re playing in the Premier League,’ he said. ‘Yes.’ ‘And we’ve got people who can put big bets on. If you lose this frame and this frame we can get enough on it to make some money. We’ll give you this out of it.’ ”
The 37-year-old adds that he was shocked and saddened when he saw the News of the World sting on fellow world champion John Higgins.
O’Sullivan writes that he and Higgins – who he describes as a “hero” to him – have always been friends as well as rivals, which is why he was so upset when the Scot was banned.
Higgins was fined £75,000 and banned for six months but cleared of corruption charges.
Lee, who will be 50 when his ban expires, has claimed he is “totally innocent” of match-fixing. He was banned after being found guilty of seven counts of deliberately losing frames or matches, including at the World Championship.
O’Sullivan has previously said that while there is “no concrete evidence” of match-fixing in snooker, it is “just like everyone who works in an office, they have a good idea who’s shagging who”.
His comments prompted Barry Hearn, the World Snooker chairman, to write to him warning that he was contractually obliged to provide the organisation with any information he might have about possible corruption, and also threatening to sanction him if he had spoken out of turn.
In Running the world champion also reveals he “pushed his luck” by taking drugs during his career, to the point where he was desperate for tournaments to be over so he could avoid being tested.