Bingham: Ban has cost me at least £150,000

STUART BINGHAM admits he cannot wait to return to action after a suspension from snooker which has cost him at least £150,000.

Ballrun will play legend Jimmy White in the China Open Qualifiers at the Barnsley Metrodome at 7.30pm on Sunday (Jan 28) after serving half of a six-month ban for betting breaches.

Bingham learnt about the ban AFTER flying out to China in late October to prepare the International Championship and had to return to the UK before his scheduled match with Robbie Williams.

He has since had to sit out tournaments including the Shanghai Masters, UK Championship, Scottish Open and snooker’s most prestigious invitation, the Masters, at Alexandra Palace this month.

The Essex pro says legal fees, guaranteed tournament takings and likely event earnings, along with the £20,000 fine have hit him hard in the pocket. It has also seen him slip down snooker’s money ranking list, which will mean he gets harder draws at future competitions.

The world No 12, who gave a full response to the sanctions at the time, said: “What I did was stupid but it was my own fault and I now have to move forward.

“It had lots of repercussions and I have felt the consequences. For example, I was due to play an event in China in July but I am now not going because of the ban.

“Now all I can do is get back on the table and work hard to rebuild.

“I think I have always been in the top 15 percent of players who work hard on the Tour so now I need to stay mentally strong and get back to going deep into as many tournaments as I can.”

Bingham’s last competitive match was a 4-3 defeat to Hossein Vafaei at the English Open on October 19 and he is delighted to be making his comeback against “boyhood hero” White.

Ballrun added: “You know what you get with Jimmy, he is a tough competitor and he always plays the game correctly.

“He is someone I have always looked up to but my focus needs to be on me because the biggest battle will be how I play after my time out.”