Bexhill player handed 15-month suspension

Leo Fernandez has been banned from snooker for 15 months
Leo Fernandez has been banned from snooker for 15 months
  • Leo Fernandez banned from snooker for 15 months
  • Bexhill player made first foul of match, enabling others to profit by betting on it
  • Incident happened at World Championship Qualifiers in April
  • Suspension will run until August 27, 2017
  • 40-year-old will pay £2,000 in costs and help with anti-corruption education work

Snooker player Leo Fernandez has been banned from the sport for 15 months after admitting corruption charges.

The Bexhill-based cueman played the first foul shot of his match against Gary Wilson in the World Championship Qualifiers at Ponds Forge in Sheffield on April 6.

The foul enabled other people to profit by betting on it, a World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) investigation found.

Fernandez admitted to a breach of 2.1.2.1 of the WPBSA Members Rules at a hearing before the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee on June 24.

The WPBSA disciplinary committee issued its decision on sanction yesterday (Tuesday). The suspension will run from May 27, 2016 - when the interim suspension was imposed by the WPBSA - until August 27, 2017.

Fernandez will also pay £2,000 costs to the WPBSA, the sport’s governing body, and has agreed to help with the organisation’s anti-corruption education work.

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.

Jason Ferguson

The Ireland-born player has been on and off the professional circuit during his career, but for the 2016/17 season had secured a professional tour place for the first time since 2008.

WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said: “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.

“This demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that all aspects of matches in World Snooker events are competed in a fair and honest manner. Working closely with our many international partners, the WPBSA has developed the strongest anti-corruption strategies available in sport today.”

Fernandez achieved a highest world ranking of 67 and the best result of his career was his run to the last 16 of the 2003 Welsh Open. He won the English Amateur Championship in 2011, a year after moving to Bexhill from London.

Observer Sport unsuccessfully attempted to contact Fernandez for comment.

The area’s top two snooker players, meanwhile, experienced mixed fortunes in round one of the Indian Open today.

St Leonards-based Mark Davis edged out Finnish player Robin Hull 4-3 this morning, while Bexhill professional Jimmy Robertson lost by the same score to Chinese cueman Xiao Guodong this afternoon after almost pulling off a remarkable turnaround.

World number 27 Davis didn’t concede a point in winning the opening frame, aided by a 62 break. Hull, ranked 58, edged a tight second to level at 1-1, but scored just one point in the next two frames as Davis went 3-1 up with a top run of 63.

Hull again won a tight frame to make it 3-2, helped by a run of 56, and then rattled in a 124 break to square the match. Davis held his nerve, however, to clinch the decider 74-25 courtesy of a 73 break.

World number 34 Robertson recovered from 3-0 down to level at 3-3 against 49th-ranked Guodong before losing the deciding frame.

Guodong made a flying start to the match with a break of 101 in the opening frame and a 114 in the third to move within one of a quick victory.

Robertson is a prolific break builder himself, though, and runs of 83 in frame five and 79 in the next got him back on level terms only for Guodong to clinch the decider 78-44 thanks largely to a break of 69.

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