Jamie O’Neill has been suspended from the World Snooker Tour (WST), the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) have said.
It was claimed he turned up to a match drunk, addressed female staff inappropriately and played while still under the influence of alcohol at Northern Ireland Open qualifying.
The incidents - which have seen the 35-year-old hit with a fine of £1,500, as well as a further £3,200 in costs - took place at the qualifying event in Leicester last August.
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O’Neill’s latest suspension will last until August, with the world No. 112 now missing the Championship League and the European Masters.
A statement from the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) said: “The allegation was that Mr O’Neill was drunk on the morning of his match and that he made inappropriate comments and gestures toward two female members of staff. He then played his qualifying match whilst under the influence of alcohol.
"The case was heard by the independent WPBSA Disciplinary Committee where after a contested hearing Mr O’Neill was found to be in breach of the WPBSA Rules and his Players Contract."
The match in question saw him beat Michael Judge 4-2, one of just three wins for O’Neill last season.
This is not the first time O’Neill has found himself in hot water, after missing two events through suspension last year. On that occasion he behaved inappropriately towards hotel and WST staff, as well as breaching hotel rules.
During the 2020-21 season, O’Neill received suspended fines for inappropriate comments and lives streams posted on social media.
Those earlier incidents were also considered when deciding O’Neill’s punishment.
The WPBSA statement went on to say: “In making their decision on sanction, the Committee took into account that the finding of the Disciplinary Committee puts Mr O’Neill in breach of a suspended penalty imposed by the Disciplinary Committee on 27th May 2021. In addition, Mr O’Neill has breached two previous suspended penalties imposed under the WPBSA Disciplinary process.”
O'Neill is the latest snooker player to be suspended after Simon Blackwell was ruled out of the game for 18 months after being found guilty of an attempt to fix the outcome of a match.
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24/06/2022 AT 15:32