The Board of Directors of the World Professional Billiards & Snooker Association Ltd ("the Association"), acting pursuant to the powers conferred upon it by Regulation 21 of the Articles of Association, has on 21 March 2011 adopted the following disciplinary rules as amended from time to time by resolution of the Board of Directors (the "Disciplinary Rules"):
In these Disciplinary Rules, the following phrases shall, unless otherwise stated, have the following meanings:
“Appeals Committee” has the meaning set out in Section 11;
"Appeals Panel" an appeal panel constituted in accordance with Section 10.2
“Board” means the board of directors of the Association;
"Company Secretary" means the company secretary or the assistant company secretary of the Association or any other person duly authorised by the Board in their absence;
“Director”means a director of the board of the Association;
“Disciplinary Committee” means the disciplinary committee of the Association constituted in accordance with Section 5;
“Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board” means the independent disciplinary hearing board constituted in accordance with Section 9;
“In writing” means communication by letter or by e-mail;
“Member” means a member of the Association and shall include a Member who resigns as a Member at anytime after a matter/disciplinary matter comes to the attention of the Association in accordance with Section 6.1;
“Misconduct” has the meaning set out in Section 3;
"Suspension"/“Suspended” means that the person Suspended shall not be permitted to participate in any way in Association activities or events recognised or organised by the Association, including but not limited by way of playing, officiating, management, organisation, administration or promotion; and
“Tournament” has the meaning set out in the Members’ Rules and Regulations and will include any event or competition recognised by the Association.
These Disciplinary Rules shall apply to all Members, or former Members in relation to their conduct whilst a Member.
2.2 Subject to clause 2.5 below, the Board delegates the disciplinary powers conferred on it by Regulation 21 of the Articles of Association as follows:
a)the Board delegates the power to receive and act upon disciplinary matters to the Company Secretary and the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee;
b)the Board delegates the power to hear and decide disciplinary matters to Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee and the Disciplinary Committee;
c)the Board delegates to the Disciplinary Committee the power to refer certain more serious cases (as determined by the Disciplinary Committee) to the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board for hearing -and decision; and
d)the Board delegates the power to determine appeals to the Appeals Panel in cases of minor misconduct and to the Appeals Committee in other cases of Misconduct.
2.3The Association shall have jurisdiction to consider any matter falling within the scope of these Disciplinary Rules as to which a formal complaint is made to the Company Secretary by:
a member of the Board;
a)a member of the Disciplinary Committee;
b)a promoter, a broadcaster or sponsor involved in snooker;
c)a tournament referee or official; and/or
d)a member of the public.
2.4In addition, the Association may investigate any other matter which comes to its attention (whether through media publicity or otherwise) which it considers may constitute Misconduct.
2.5The Disciplinary Committee or Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board will normally consider a complaint made against a Member before it exercises the right to impose a suspension on the Member concerned, but where a complaint is deemed to be of a serious or potentially serious nature, a power to impose a Suspension forthwith may be exercised as outlined at section 4.
3.1 The sanctions set out in Section 12, below, may be imposed on any Member or former Member who is found to have committed an act or acts of Misconduct.
3.2 For the purpose of these Disciplinary Rules the following shall amount to “Misconduct”:
a)a breach of the Association's Articles of Association;
b)a breach of the Association’s Rules and Regulations, including and in addition (without limitation):
the Rules of the Games of Snooker and Billiards;
the Members’ Rules and Regulations;
the Child Protection Policy;
Codes of Practice issued pursuant to the Association's Rules and
the Anti-Doping Policy.
breach by a Member of obligation in respect of a contract arising from the Member's status as a professional sportsman.
other act or default of a Member that in the reasonable opinion of the Disciplinary Committee or its Chairman is capable of bringing the Member and/ or the games of Snooker and Billiards into disrepute.
to provide full or true information or evidence to the Company Secretary, Disciplinary Committee, independent Disciplinary Hearing Board or Appeals Committee pursuant to these Disciplinary Rules; or
to respect, recognise, abide by and/or comply with any decision made hereunder.
d)an act or omission on the part of an individual who later becomes a Member and such act or omission would have amounted to Misconduct if the individual had been a Member at the time.
Suspension prior to an investigation or hearing
The Disciplinary Committee will normally consider a complaint made against a Member before it exercises the right to impose a suspension on the Member concerned, but where a complaint is deemed to be of a serious or potentially serious nature, a power to impose a suspension forthwith may be exercised by the Chairman of the Board or in his absence, his nominee, who is a board member but not a player or a member of the Disciplinary Committee.
In such circumstances the Member will be informed in writing by the person making the decision to suspend the Member of the determination and the reasons for it
Any Member upon whom Suspension has been imposed in this manner may appeal by notice in writing to the Company Secretary within 14 days of being informed of his suspension, setting out the grounds of the appeal, and the Company Secretary shall make arrangements for the appeal to be considered on paper by a different Director from that which imposed the original suspension who is not a player or a member of the Disciplinary Committee. The decision of the Director considering the appeal shall be deemed to be a decision of the Association and shall be final and binding.
The Disciplinary Committee
5.1 A Disciplinary Committee shall be appointed by the Board. It shall consist of a Chairman who may or may not be a member of the Board and at least two other individuals who may or may not also be members of the Board.
Where the Disciplinary Committee sits to hear a matter, the quorum shall be two.
In minor cases of misconduct, the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee or in his absence his nominee, who is a member of the Disciplinary Committee, shall consider the matter and shall exercise all the powers of the Disciplinary Committee save that he may not expel a Member from the Association, nor suspend a Member from playing in a Tournament, nor deduct ranking points, nor impose a fine exceeding £1,000 plus costs.
Where a complaint is made, or a matter otherwise comes to the attention of the Association, and the Company Secretary considers such complaint or other matter falls within the scope of the Disciplinary Rules:
He will report the incident to the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee.
He will write to the Member concerned, seeking his views on the substance of the complaint or matter that has arisen.
Every Member to whom enquiries are made by the Company Secretary is under a duty to give a full and truthful response within 14 days unless exceptional circumstances can be evidenced that prevent this. Failure to provide a full and truthful response may be Misconduct.
Having received the Member’s response, or if such response is not forthcoming within the 14 day time period, the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee shall then consider whether or not to charge the Member with Misconduct.
Before reaching such a conclusion, the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee shall be entitled to make all appropriate enquiries, and to seek such advice within the Association as he deems appropriate, and if he thinks fit, to seek external expert advice, including legal advice.
If the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee shall be of the opinion that no further action should be taken in relation to the matter. The Company Secretary shall notify the Member accordingly.
If the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee determines that further action should be taken:
Where the misconduct is of a minor nature or the member fully admits the misconduct in their response, the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee shall consider the matter on paper. He shall exercise all the powers of the Disciplinary Committee save that he may not expel a member from the Association, nor suspend a member from playing in a tournament, nor deduct ranking points, nor impose a fine exceeding £1,000 plus costs.
Where the misconduct is more serious (whether or not admitted by the member) or involves any aspect of corruption, he shall further determine whether:
The matter should be dealt with by the Disciplinary Committee; or
The Disciplinary Committee should consider whether the matter should be delegated to the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board.
In the case of i. above, the matter shall be dealt with by the Disciplinary Committee in accordance with these Rules.
In the case of ii. above, the Company Secretary shall convene as soon as possible a meeting of the Disciplinary Committee at which such proposed delegation shall be considered.
If the Disciplinary Committee shall determine that the matter should be delegated to the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board, the matter shall be dealt with by the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board in accordance with these Disciplinary Rules.
If the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee decides that there should be a disciplinary hearing, the Company Secretary shall write to the Member concerned notifying him that there will be a disciplinary hearing and specifying the charge(s).
The Company Secretary shall liaise with the Disciplinary Committee to schedule a date for the hearing and at least 14 days prior to the hearing, the Company Secretary shall give the Member notice in writing of;
The date and venue of the hearing
The composition of the Disciplinary Committee.
Details of the evidence that the Company Secretary is intending to submit to support the charge.
7.3 The Company Secretary will also request details of any evidence that the Member wishes to submit to the Disciplinary Committee. If such evidence is not furnished to the Company Secretary in a timely fashion, he may request that the hearing be adjourned upon such terms (including costs) as the Disciplinary Committee shall determine.
7.4 In exercising their functions under these Disciplinary Rules, the Disciplinary Committee shall have broad discretion to regulate their own procedure. Without prejudice to the generality of this power, the Disciplinary Committee may;
order the parties to attend a case management hearing in advance of the substantive hearing where matters of evidence and procedure may be decided;
extend or vary any time limit set out in these Disciplinary Rules;
Adjourn the proceedings, whether prior to a scheduled hearing date or during the hearing, to allow time for the submission of further evidence or for any other reason
order a party to pay the costs of any case management or other interim or adjourned hearing;
ask questions directly of any party or witness
exclude evidence on grounds of inadmissibility, lack of relevance or failure to comply with directions;
make appropriate directions (whether in advance of the hearing or at the start or during the hearing) with respect to the conduct of proceedings; and/or
require that any party or other person subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Association disclose documents or other material relevant to the case to another party or to the Disciplinary Committee or independent Disciplinary Hearing Board.
The burden of proof in respect of any allegation shall be on the Association and the standard of proof shall be on the balance of probabilities (that is, whether it is more likely than not that the Misconduct occurred)
Every person giving evidence before the Disciplinary Committee is under a duty to give full and truthful evidence.
Any Member appearing before the Disciplinary Committee in answer to an allegation of Misconduct shall have the right to be represented by legal counsel of his choice, or may be accompanied by a person who may make representations and ask questions of witnesses, but shall not answer questions on his behalf.
The Disciplinary Committee shall not be obliged to follow the strict rules of evidence. It may admit such evidence as it thinks fit and accord such evidence such weight as it thinks appropriate in all the circumstances.
Having considered all the evidence tendered to it, and having allowed the Member sufficient opportunity to make submissions on relevant matters, the Disciplinary Committee shall retire to consider its decision.
In reaching its decision there is no requirement that the Disciplinary Committee be unanimous. It is sufficient if a majority favour a particular conclusion. No minority opinion or dissenting judgment shall be produced and no indication shall be given by the Disciplinary Committee to any party that its decision was other than unanimous.
Having reached its final decision, the Disciplinary Committee shall communicate that decision either at the time of the hearing or as soon as possible thereafter in writing to the Member.
A decision of the Disciplinary Committee, subject to the right of appeal set out in section 11, shall be deemed to be a decision of the Association and shall be final and binding on all and, without prejudice to any other provision of the Rules, any financial penalty or order as to costs shall be enforceable as a debt.
The Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board
9.1 In cases of corruption or other serious Misconduct where the outcome of a hearing may lead to a lengthy suspension from participation in the sport or the permanent expulsion of that player or member, the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee or the Disciplinary Committee will consider referring the case to an Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board
Following a referral to the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board pursuant to these Disciplinary Rules, Sports Resolutions (UK), acting independently of the parties, shall appoint an individual, to sit as the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board.
The Association or the Member may object to the individual appointed under 9.2 if they reasonably believe his or her independence to be in doubt or in accordance with 9.4 below.
A person may not sit upon the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board or act as an assessor in a particular case where he has any prior involvement with the case or has any material financial, familial or other relevant interest in the outcome of the proceedings. Any issue arising in relation to such involvement or interest shall be raised with Sports Resolutions (UK) as soon as possible by the person himself or by any party to the proceedings, and a party's failure to raise the issue without delay may be deemed a waiver of any right to object on such grounds. Sports Resolutions (UK) shall decide whether or not the involvement or interest so notified requires the exclusion of that person from considering a particular complaint of Misconduct or from sitting on the independent Disciplinary Hearing Board panel at all.
In the event of the individual being unable to hear the case under section 9.4, Sports Resolutions (UK) will appoint an alternative individual to sit as the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board.
The appointed person shall work as the Chairman of the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board pursuant to section 9.1 in consideration of the allegations and may hear the matter alone or may co-opt another person or persons to sit as members of the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board panel, or to act as assessors in a case involving the evaluation of expert evidence.
Appeals in cases of minor misconduct
Where a minor misconduct issue has been dealt with by the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee (under section 6.6 a), the member may appeal in writing to the Company Secretary within 14 days of being informed of the outcome of the case.
The Company Secretary shall make arrangements for the appeal to be considered on paper by an Appeals Panel consisting of a member of the Disciplinary Committee, who is not the Chairman, together with a Director. The appeal will be conducted by way of review, taking account of the Member's representations in writing and other than where the Appeals Panel deem that there are exceptional circumstances, will be conducted on paper without a hearing. The decision of the Appeal Panel shall be deemed to be a decision of the Association and shall be final and binding.
The Appeals Panel may order the Member to pay an administrative fee in the event of an unsuccessful appeal.
Appeals against findings from the Disciplinary Committee or Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board.
Any Member found by the Disciplinary Committee or the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board (as the case may be) to be guilty of Misconduct shall have the right to appeal in accordance with this Section.
An appeal further to Section 11.1 shall be referred to a body to be known as the Appeals Committee. The Appeals Committee for each individual case shall consist of an individual appointed by Sports Resolutions (UK) who may hear the matter alone or may co-opt another person or persons to sit as members of the Appeals Committee.
The provisions contained in section 9.4, 9.5 and 9.6 also apply to the Appeals Committee.
A Member shall have 14 days to submit a notice of appeal from the date the relevant written decision is sent to the Member. The written notice of appeal shall be sent, along with copies of all relevant documents, to the Company Secretary so as to be received by them within the 14 day deadline. The notice of appeal shall set out the specific aspect(s) of the decision being challenged on appeal, clearly stating whether the appeal is against the finding of guilt or the sanctions imposed (or both) and the grounds upon which the appeal is made. The notice of appeal must be accompanied by a deposit in the amount of £800 (subject to review by the Board of the Association from time to time), as security for the costs of the appeal.
Notice of Appeal submitted late or which otherwise fails to comply with 11.4 shall, in the absence of good cause shown, be rejected without the need for further consideration. In the event that a party shall fail to comply with directions given by the Appeals Committee in the course of an appeal, the Appeals Committee may on the application of either party or of its own motion (with or without a hearing) order that the party in default take no further part in the proceedings or that the appeal be dismissed on such terms as to costs as may be reasonable.
As soon as possible following receipt of the notice of appeal, the Company Secretary or Sports Resolutions (UK) as appropriate shall convene an Appeals Committee and shall advise the parties of the composition of the Appeals Committee and in the case of a hearing, of the date, time and venue of it.
The Appeals Committee shall have broad discretion to regulate its own procedure.
The Appeals Committee will consider and review all of the documents and evidence submitted to the Disciplinary Committee or the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board in the proceedings and may consider the appeal on paper. In the case of a hearing they may require the attendance of any witnesses heard by the Disciplinary Committee or the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board. The Appeals Committee shall have absolute discretion to admit or refuse any new evidence tendered by any party and also to adjourn the proceedings for the purpose of taking any new evidence if it comes to light.
In a case where the appeal is solely against the sanction imposed, it will be considered by the Appeals Committee by way of review, taking account of the Member's representations in writing and other than where the Appeals Committee deem that there are exceptional circumstances will be conducted on paper without a hearing.
Having considered all of the evidence tendered to it, and having allowed the parties to the appeal sufficient opportunity to make submissions on paper or in person at a hearing, the Appeals Committee will consider its decision.
A decision of the Appeals Committee:
may be unanimous or a majority decision;
is final; and
shall be deemed to be a decision of the Association and be binding on all Members.
The Appeals Committee may:
affirm the decision appealed against;
set aside the decision appealed against and quash any finding made or sanction imposed;
set aside only part of the decision appealed against;
substitute for the findings of the Disciplinary Committee or the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board (as the case may be) its own decision on ‘liability’ (e.g., finding a Member culpable of a lesser or greater offence) and/or substitute for the sanction imposed below its own sanction; and/or
take any other step that it considers necessary to deal justly with the appeal.
Pursuant to this Section, following an appeal by a Member, the Appeals Committee can impose a greater sanction than that which was imposed by the Disciplinary Committee or the independent Disciplinary Hearing Board.
In its decision, the Appeals Committee shall include a direction as to the treatment of the deposit made further to Section 11.4, above.
Where a Member is found guilty of Misconduct, the Disciplinary Committee, the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board or the Appeals Committee (as the case may be) may impose upon the Member one or more of the following sanctions:
temporary Suspension for a period fixed in time or by reference to particular events;
permanent Suspension (with or without the possibility of reinstatement, which may be conditional);
expulsion as a Member;
expulsion, suspension or exclusion from standing for, or holding, any office or employment within the Association either for a temporary period or permanently;
the withholding of all or a proportion or any prize money earned from an event or tournament;
a reprimand or censure in respect of conduct;
the removal of ranking points;
a suspended sanction (being a sanction which is only invoked in the event that the Member is found to have committed another act of Misconduct within a stated time of the date of the decision, whether or not the further offence took place before the decision);
such other sanction(s) as the Disciplinary Committee, Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board or the Appeals Committee (as the case may be) shall see fit in all of the circumstances of the case..
In the absence of other agreement a fine and any costs contribution imposed on a Member pursuant to these Disciplinary Rules must be paid within 28 days of notification. Without prejudice to the Association’s ability to enforce the provisions of this Section by any other means, if a Member fails to comply with the provisions of this Section the Member concerned will automatically be Suspended.
If a fine or any costs contribution imposed on a Member pursuant to these Disciplinary Rules has not been paid within a further 28 days of notification following Suspension in accordance with Section 12.2, the Member concerned will be automatically expelled from the Association.
12.4 Any financial penalty or order for costs may be enforced by the Association against the Member (or former Member) as a debt.
Where the Disciplinary Committee or the independent Disciplinary Hearing Board imposes any period of Suspension, that period shall run from the date of the written decision, even if a Notice of Appeal is submitted.
In appropriate cases, the Disciplinary Committee or the independent Disciplinary Hearing Board or the Appeals Committee may recommend that a complete dossier of the evidence submitted in the course of the proceedings be prepared and sent by the Company Secretary to the criminal authorities, with a view to an investigation being undertaken by such authorities to establish whether a criminal offence has been committed. In such an event, the Disciplinary Committee, the independent Disciplinary Hearing Board or the Appeals Committee (as the case may be) may at its sole discretion determine that that the disciplinary proceedings against the Member be stayed pending the outcome of criminal proceedings and/or the results of any investigation undertaken by such authorities.
Waiver of Minor Procedural Irregularities
Without prejudice to the right of the Disciplinary Committee, the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board and the Appeals Committee to regulate their own procedure, where at any time in the course of any disciplinary proceedings carried out under these Disciplinary Rules there has been a breach of procedure or failure to follow any direction given, this shall not invalidate the proceedings unless such breaches have been such as to seriously and irremediably prejudice the position of the Member concerned.
14.1 Each of the Disciplinary Committee, the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board and the Appeals Committee may order one or other party to bear all or some of the costs of the proceedings held before it, including the costs of convening and holding the proceedings and the other party's costs. Without prejudice to any other sanction, an order as to costs shall be a sum due under contract between the Association and the Member or former Member as the case may be and shall be enforceable as a debt.
14.2 In the case of an appeal against a minor misconduct offence finding by the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee, the Appeals Panel may cause an administrative fee (being an assessment of the costs reasonably incurred or expended by the association in the administration of this process) to be paid by the Member in the event of an unsuccessful appeal.
14.3 In exercising the discretion to award costs as set out in Section 14.1, above, the Disciplinary Committee, the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board or the Appeals Committee (as the case may be) should have regard to the regulatory function of the Company Secretary and the Association and their duty to bring proceedings in accordance with these Disciplinary Rules keeping in mind the duties to safeguard and promote the interests and reputation of the Association, its Members, the sport of snooker and billiards and the individual Member concerned.
Agreed findings and sanctions
Where the Company Secretary has written to a Member in accordance Section 6.1 and without prejudice to the Associations obligations to investigate the matters under consideration and the Member's obligations to cooperate with that investigation, the Member may indicate that he admits or will admit certain allegations the subject of the investigation and the Association, acting by its Company Secretary may indicate sanctions that it may impose on the Member by way of agreement.
Any agreement as to admitted allegations and sanctions under 15.1 shall be recorded in writing and shall be subject to and become effective on ratification by the Disciplinary Committee
Either party may propose an agreement at any time during the course of an investigation or later disciplinary hearing, provided that no agreement can bind an Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board
16.1. Save where the Disciplinary Committee, the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board or the Appeals Committee (as applicable) orders otherwise, all disciplinary proceeding in accordance with these Disciplinary Rules shall take place in private and the public and the press shall have no right of access to the room where the hearing is taking place.
16.2. The Disciplinary Committee, Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board and the Appeals Committee shall not issue any press statement or conduct any press conferences. All media announcements in relation to any decision of the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board or the Appeals Committee shall be made or approved by the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee. There shall be no obligation on the Association or the Independent Disciplinary Hearing Board to make public the sanctions imposed or findings made in the course of any hearing if, having considered the effect of so doing on the reputation and standing of the Association, its Members and the Member, it believes the prejudicial effect of such disclosure will outweigh the benefits of transparency.
17. Resignation as a Member
17.1. Resignation offered by a Member after matters/disciplinary matters have come to the attention of the Association will not be effective until any disciplinary investigation or process has been concluded. However the Association may accept such resignation, but have a continuing right to order or seek costs against the Member or former Member in respect of and to the conclusion of the investigation or disciplinary hearing and to enforce the payment of any costs order or other financial penalty as a continuing obligation of the Member or former Member.
18. Governing Law and Jurisdiction
18.1 These Disciplinary Rules and any dispute arising out of or in connection with them (including any dispute or claim relating to non-contractual obligations) shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law, without regard to its conflict of law rules.
18.2 Subject strictly to the internal dispute resolution mechanisms provided for in these Disciplinary Rules, the courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any matter arising in relation to these Disciplinary Rules (including any non-contractual disputes or claims).