Rumours had been rife on Twitter during the day, but it has now been confirmed by World Snooker that following his hearing today before the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee, Joe Jogia has been banned from competing in the game of snooker and billiards until following the 2014 World Championship, effectively ruling him out for the next two seasons…
You can read the official statement from World Snooker by clicking here, however it is fair to say that the layout of the statement is not the clearest and therefore to explain what they have said, I have broken it down as follows:
The Disciplinary Committee of the WPBSA has today heard the case of Joe Jogia in relation to the suspicious betting patterns on his match with Matthew Selt that was due to take place at the Sky Snooker Shootout at Blackpool on Saturday 28th January 2012.
It was alleged that a series of bets were placed on Matthew Selt to win this match and the pattern of betting was deemed to be suspicious. As a result betting was suspended on the match on the evening of 23rd January 2012. On 26th January 2012, Joe Jogia withdrew from the match citing an injury and the match did not take place.
An investigation was conducted by the WPBSA which found that on and between 20th and 24th January 2012, a total of 19 bets were made or attempted, all at different betting shops in the Leicester area on Matthew Selt winning this match against Joe Jogia. 14 bets to a total value of £4,830 were placed and 4 bets to a total of £2,300 and 1 bet of an unknown amount was declined.
It was established that the two persons placing the bets were known to Joe Jogia as associates and telephone records demonstrate that in the period leading up to and following the placing of bets Joe Jogia was in repeated contact with them. There was no contact prior to 16th January 2012 then he sent 33 text messages and made 3 calls to one of the persons placing the bets and 42 text messages and 1 call to the other.Joe has failed to provide a consistent or detailed explanation as to the reason for the contact.
Initially, Joe Jogia claimed that the reason for the betting must be that people were aware of an injury that he had suffered, but 4 of the suspicious bets were placed before he claimed to have suffered the injury and a further 7 of the bets were placed before he sought medical attention.
Although there was no evidence to show that Joe Jogia would have gained financially, the Disciplinary Committee found that the frequency and timing of this contact, his lack of a consistent explanation for the contact and the suspicions raised by the pattern of bets placed by his associates, created an actual or apparent conflict of interest for him as a Member of the WPBSA, or otherwise risked impairing public confidence in the integrity of his Match with Matthew Selt.
The WPBSA Disciplinary Committee found that he is in breach of the following members rules:
SECTION 2 – BETTING RULES
2. Betting misconduct
It shall be a breach of these Rules for a Member to do any of the
22.214.171.124 to engage in any other conduct (ie beyond that specified in paragraph 2.1.1 to 2.1.3) that is corrupt or fraudulent, or creates an actual or apparent conflict of interest for the Member, or otherwise risks impairing public confidence in the integrity and/or the honest and orderly conduct of the Tour and/or any Tournament or Match;
Joe Jogia was today banned from involvement in the game of snooker and billiards until the conclusion of the 2014 World Championship and ordered to pay £2000 as a contribution towards the cost of the hearing and investigation of the case.
For those of you who are unaware of the original story, an investigation was launched by World Snooker following reports of unusual betting patterns by a bookmaker in the run up to his scheduled match with Matt Selt at the Shoot Out, from which Jogia subsequently withdrew as reported here. At the time, Joe told The Sun that he had done nothing wrong and suggested that people must have seen him struggling with his injured leg during practice.
Though Jogia was to continue competing on the main tour until the end of the season, late in May it was announced that Jogia had been suspended from the main tour by World Snooker, pending today’s hearing. Ruling him out of the start of the season, Joe’s suspension had already seen him drop outside of the world’s top 48 and now set to lose his main tour status as a result of the ban, it remains to be seen whether we will see the 36-year-old in professional competition again.
Will he appeal? According to snooker writer Hector Nunns on Twitter, he does have the option to during the next 14 days, but whether he does remains to be seen.
As an aside, the length of today’s hearing means that the other scheduled hearings for today involving Stephen Lee and Ronnie O’Sullivan, will now not be heard until tomorrow.