Sport

Irish snooker player banned from sport until 2017 for spot-fixing

SportBy Sunday World
Leo Fernandez playing for Ireland in the 1999 Embassy World Snooker Championships
Leo Fernandez playing for Ireland in the 1999 Embassy World Snooker Championships

Irishman Leo Fernandez has been suspended from snooker until August 2017 after admitting a breach of anti-corruption regulations.

The Irishman was provisionally suspended on May 27 after it was ruled he had a case to answer following an investigation into his World Championship first qualifying round match against Gary Wilson on April 6.

The spot-fixing charge related to the first foul of the match. Fernandez was given a 15-month ban and ordered to pay £2,000 costs after a hearing on Tuesday - his 40th birthday.

A statement from the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association on Wednesday read: "At an early stage Leo Fernandez fully admitted his involvement in delivering the foul shot in the first frame of the match in question for other persons to make money through betting.

"As a condition of his sentence he has pledged to assist the WPBSA in its anti-corruption education work to try and help other players avoid being drawn into match manipulation.

"On Tuesday 5th July the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee issued their decision on sanction: Leo Fernandez is suspended from the sport of snooker for a period of 15 months.

"The suspension will run from 27th May 2016, when the interim suspension was imposed by the WPBSA. Therefore Leo Fernandez will not be eligible to participate in snooker before 27th August 2017.

"He has been ordered to pay a contribution towards the WPBSA costs of £2,000."

Fernandez has been an intermittent presence on snooker's professional tour since first qualifying in 2007. A run to the quarter-finals of last year's Haining Open on the Asian Tour earned him a return to the main tour for this season.

WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said: "This demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that all aspects of matches in World Snooker events are competed in a fair and honest manner.

"Leo Fernandez had just qualified to play on the WSL tour this season as a full professional and by his actions he has thrown away this opportunity."