Higgins ruling 'victory for News of the World journalism'

Amid the continuing furore over Andy Coulson and phone-hacking – the News of the World celebrated a victory for one of its investigations following the suspension of snooker star John Higgins.

Yesterday Higgins was handed a six-month suspension from snooker and fined £75,000 after admitting breaching rules around betting.

The former world champion was suspended in May after the NoW filmed him apparently agreeing to take a £261,000 bribe to lose frames.

He admitted “intentionally giving the impression to others that they were agreeing to act in breach of the betting rules” and failing to report the matter promptly to the governing body, World Snooker.

However, the charges of “agreeing or offering” to accept bribes and “agreeing to engage in corrupt or fraudulent conduct” were dropped.

Following the hearing Higgins insisted he was “100 per cent innocent”, saying he believed the meeting with the journalists was to arrange a series of tournaments in Ukraine.

The News of the World said in a statement: “This result is a victory for News of the World investigative journalism.

“Today’s judgment is testament to the extraordinary work of our investigations editor Mazher Mahmood.”

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