Liang Wenbo's four-month ban from snooker for assaulting a woman has been slammed as too lenient by prominent MP Louise Haigh. Former English Open champion Liang, 35, pleaded guilty to a domestic-related assault of a woman in Sheffield in February.
And the Chinese player was sentenced to a 12-month community order and fined £1,380 by magistrates. There was widespread criticism of the sentence with Liang avoiding prison time and now the sport's disciplinary body the WPBSA has handed the world No40 a ban until August 1st, having booted him out of April's World Championship.
But Shadow Secretary of State for Transport and MP for Sheffield Heeley Haigh, is unhappy about the way the sport itself has reacted. She said: "Liang Wenbo was filmed kicking a woman while she lay on the floor in the street.
"He's just received a four month suspension from snooker after a finding that his behaviour was 'unbecoming of a sportsperson'. How utterly pathetic."
An independent snooker disciplinary committee found Liang guilty of conduct unbecoming a sportsperson, and bringing the game into disrepute. But with some of the ban coming during the off season the impact on the player - who has the right to appeal - is minimal.
He's just received a four month suspension from snooker after a finding that his behaviour was 'unbecoming of a sportsperson'.
How utterly pathetic.
WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said: "I have no doubt that this was a difficult case for the Independent Disciplinary Committee to deal with as it had already been heard in a criminal court.
"Despite this, neither I, nor the WPBSA could accept this type of behaviour from one of our members which led me to immediately suspend Liang just prior to the largest event and with the biggest prize money of the snooker season. I am pleased the Committee upheld this decision.”
Liang accepted at a WPBSA disciplinary committee hearing on 26th May 2022 that he had breached the WPBSA Rules and his players contract with World Snooker Limited (WSL).
Despite this case being a matter outside of the sport itself, and the fact that it had been dealt with by a criminal court, the WPBSA decided that the case was so serious that there was a case for Liang to answer for breaches of the rules and his players' contract. The basis for this was that Liang’s behaviour and subsequent conviction was conduct unbecoming of a sportsperson and brought the sport of snooker into disrepute. Due to the serious nature of this, Ferguson suspended Liang pending disciplinary proceedings just prior to him being due to appear in the World Championship.
The committee found Liang to be in breach of the WPBSA members rules and his players' contract.
On 3rd June 2022, the sanction imposed was that Liang be suspended from playing or being involved in all snooker events for a period of four months until 1st August 2022, and to pay £1,000 towards the costs of the hearing.