ALI CARTER has dismissed fears of match-fixing in snooker on the eve of this year's World Championship.
Last year's runner-up at the Crucible has jumped to the defence of the sport's integrity following trouble at the
UK Championship in December.
Bookmakers stopped taking bets on a 9-3 scoreline in the match between Jamie Burnett and Stephen Maguire, prompting a formal investigation by World Snooker into irregular betting patterns.
In an ironic twist, the same two players have been paired together in Sheffield for the first round.
Carter, 29, aiming to go one better after losing to Ronnie O'Sullivan in last year's final when he cues off tomorrow against Gerard Greene, claims snooker is clean.
"Match-fixing is 100 per cent wrong and I don't hear of anything like that going on," he stressed. "The bookmakers want it all their own way, they want to win all the time.
"If they were creaming off millions of pounds, the bookmakers wouldn't be saying a word. But the fact a few quid has gone on and they have lost – wipe your mouth and get on with it like the punter has to when he has a bet and loses."
While the investigation by the sport's governing body continues, Burnett and Maguire have denied any wrong-doing and will simply try to concentrate on reaching the second round when their game starts on Wednesday. "It's the last thing I want to talk about," said Burnett after booking his Crucible place with a qualifying win over Fergal O'Brien.
"As far as I'm concerned it was a snooker match which I lost and that was it, and as far as I'm concerned that was the end of it.
"I don't have anything to answer for because I haven't done anything."
Snooker has strong connections with the betting industry. Betfred.com has just signed for a four-year stint as the sponsor of the World Championship, taking over from rivals 888.com.
Carter believes the new multi-million pound sponsorship package is great news for snooker, but also a major coup for Betfred.com.
"I think it's great news, the sponsors have had a real result," said Carter, a qualified pilot. "If they wanted to sponsor Wimbledon, which gets the same amount of coverage, or a golf event they would pay 30 times what they are paying snooker. They have got it cheap, no matter what the figure was."
Carter's rise up the rankings could see him finish as No 2 to O'Sullivan if he has a good tournament in Sheffield, and he is a firm believer in keeping the World Championship at the Crucible, rather than exporting it to China or Dubai for financial reasons.
He said: "I don't think China is the right place for the World Championships yet. The Crucible is the home of snooker, the history is here, and it wouldn't be so special."