The threat of disciplinary action against O'Sullivan arose on Tuesday when he spoke out on Twitter, a day after Stephen Lee was found guilty by an independent panel of fixing charges following matches played in 2008 and 2009. O'Sullivan wrote: "I've heard there's many more players who throw snooker matches. I suppose Steve Lee was just caught out." He added that "plenty of people have got loads to hide".
Barry Hearn, the chairman of World Snooker, warned the 37-year-old he must not make "vague announcements" and stressed he could face a disrepute charge if he knew of undetected fixing offences having been committed.
Now O'Sullivan claims his only knowledge of match-fixing stems from second-hand accounts dating back several years, and before Hearn took the helm of World Snooker in December 2009.
In a statement released yesterday by World Snooker, O'Sullivan delivered a clarification that should quash the danger of any charges being laid against him. He said: "I would like to clarify the comments that I made on Twitter 17th September as they were an instant reaction to an issue which I feel strongly about, namely the integrity of my sport. The news about Stephen Lee's match-fixing case was eye-opening to all players on the circuit, and sends out a clear message to any would-be cheats. I fully support this decision and commend the WPBSA for taking positive action in this case. My reference to players throwing matches was out of context in that I was referring back to rumours from many years ago when there were only a few tournaments on the circuit.
"The snooker circuit calendar is now full of tournaments all year round and has undoubtedly been cleaned up since World Snooker was taken over by Barry Hearn, and I do not want my comments to leave a damaging mark on the game.
John Higgins was beaten again by Mark Davis, this time in the second round of the Bank of Communication Shanghai Masters. Scotland's former four-time world champion went down 5-1 to the Sussex player who, most notably, knocked him out of the UK Championship and World Championship last season.