Joe Jogia has been banned from professional snooker for two seasons after a disciplinary hearing today found him guilty of an alleged attempt at match-fixing.
Unusual betting patterns had been reported prior to his match with fellow Englishman Matthew Selt at the Sky Shoot-Out in Blackpool last January.
Amidst the controversy, Jogia immediately pulled out of the FA Cup style, single frame knock-out event, citing an injury to his knee, but four months later was suspended indefinitely by World Snooker pending a further investigation.
At the time, it was claimed that a high number of bets had been placed on the 36 year-old to lose the encounter – and telephone records have now been revealed which suggest Jogia was in “repeated contact” with two of those placing the bets.
The two-year ban is the largest in the sport since Quentin Hann’s famous eight-year ban back in 2006 and will almost certainly end his career in professional snooker.
Jogia, who never went beyond the last 32 in a ranking event, was your everyday journeyman player on the Tour and it is difficult to see him making a recovery by the time he is allowed to rejoin the Tour for start the 2014/15 campaign.
Having always protested his innocence since the news came to light earlier this year, it would not be a surprise to see Jogia appeal the decision – of which he has 14 days to do so.
Below is the Official Statement from the WPBSA.
“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 following:
18.104.22.168 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.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said “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 today’s outcome highlights how seriously the WPBSA will treat such matters.’”