The WPBSA has banned Leo Fernandez for 15 months for corruption ©WPBSA

Ireland’s Leo Fernandez has been banned for 15 months by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) after he admitted corruption charges.

The 40-year-old, who was provisionally suspended in May, was found guilty of spot-fixing during a World Championship qualification match against Gary Wilson on April 6.

Fernandez confessed to have deliberately made the first foul of the encounter during the opening frame of the contest to allow people to profit by betting on it.

The suspension rules him out from the sport until August 27, 2017.

He has also been ordered to pay £2,000 ($2,600/€2,300) costs as a result of the WPBSA investigation.

“At an early stage Leo Fernandez fully admitted his involvement in delivering the foul shot in the first frame of the match in question for other persons to make money through betting,” a WPBSA statement read.

"As a condition of his sentence he has pledged to assist the WPBSA in its anti-corruption education work to try and help other players avoid being drawn into match manipulation."

Leo Fernandez will not be able to return to snooker until August 2017 ©Getty Images
Leo Fernandez will not be able to return to snooker until August 2017 ©Getty Images

The news marks a disappointing blow to Fernandez’s career as he had managed to secure a spot on the World Snooker Tour for the first time since 2008.

“This demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that all aspects of matches in World Snooker events are competed in a fair and honest manner,” WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said.

"Leo Fernandez had just qualified to play on the WSL tour this season as a full professional and by his actions he has thrown away this opportunity."

As a result of the ban, Fernandez will miss out on the chance to qualify for the 2017 World Snooker Championship, due to be held at its traditional home of the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield from April 15 to May 1.

Fernandez has a highest career ranking of 67 in the world, achieved in the 2004 to 2005 season, and has earned £125,000 ($162,000/€147,000) in prize money to date.