WPBSA: Jogia ban sends out message
The World Professional Snooker and Billiards Association are confident the two-year ban handed to Joe Jogia shows their stance on corruption.
The world number 57 was banned until after the 2014 World Championship following an investigation into suspicious betting patterns relating to his scheduled Snooker Shoot-out match against Matthew Selt on January 28.
Jogia pulled out of the game citing injury, but at a hearing yesterday he was found to have breached section 184.108.40.206 of the WPBSA members' rules regarding "conduct that is corrupt or fraudulent, or creates an actual or apparent conflict of interest, 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."
WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said after the verdict: "In protecting the public image of our sport, the WPBSA has strong links with the gambling commission and the betting industry.
"The integrity of our sport is of paramount importance and this outcome highlights how seriously the WPBSA will treat such matters."
The 36-year-old had been provisionally suspended since May 30 and a WPBSA statement last night read: "It was alleged that a series of bets were placed on Matthew Selt to win the match and the pattern of betting was deemed to be suspicious.
"An investigation was conducted by the WPBSA which found that 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. Fourteen bets to a total value of £4,830 were placed and four bets to a total of £2,300 and one bet of an unknown amount were 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 three calls to one of the persons placing the bets and 42 text messages and one 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 four of the suspicious bets were placed before he claimed to have suffered the injury and a further seven 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."
Jogia was also ordered to pay £2,000 towards the cost of the hearing and investigation.