Snooker player banned for six years over match fixing

Irish amateur snooker player John Sutton has been banned for six years after the sport’s world governing body found him guilty of match-fixing and misusing inside information.

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association said Mr Sutton’s offences related to suspicious betting on his match against Scotland’s Jamie Burnett in the qualifying stages of the International Championship.

The match, played in Barnsley on September 24 2014, saw Mr Burnett win 6-0, but suspicious betting patterns were reported to the WPBSA.

There is no suggestion Mr Burnett was at fault.

Mr Sutton, a 34-year-old married father of four, was suspended after being charged in February, and his case was heard in Bristol on March 24 by the WPBSA disciplinary committee, with the ruling announced yesterday.

The WPBSA alleged that bets placed against Mr Sutton by associates of his from the Terry Rogers Snooker Club in Dublin were “disproportionately and suspiciously large”, adding: “That the betting of these persons was considerably in excess of their previous betting history is a clear indication they had knowledge of or belief in the outcome of the match.”

It said the stakes amounted to €18,000, with the bettors standing to recoup €55,000, however bookmakers declined to pay out. There were 58 bets placed in the space of just 44 minutes, in “a structured and co-ordinated” manner, the WPBSA said.

While Mr Sutton protested his innocence, and can appeal, the authority ruled on a balance of probabilities that he “agreed with and confirmed to a bettor or bettors that he would fix or contrive the result”.

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