Snooker: Reports of player failing drug test denied

THE World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association yesterday denied reports that a leading player had failed a drug test.

But in an official statement released the WPBSA merely said that their company secretary, Martyn Blake, wished "it to be known that under WPBSA drug control procedure no notification has been given that a leading player has failed a random drugs test carried out by the Sports Council. No disciplinary action can be commenced until both samples taken at any test have proved positive. Should a test prove positive a disciplinary hearing will be organised by the WPBSA in accordance with its agreed procedure and the findings made known."

It is understood that a drug test is in process and that the second sample will be tested on Wednesday. It is believed that the initial testing of the sample indicated the use of a banned substance. It is not thought the sample was taken during the World Championship, which finished in Sheffield a week ago.

Less than a month ago, three players were punished for failing random tests. The former world billiards champion, Peter Gilchrist, was fined pounds 100 after traces of pseudoephedrine - found in flu remedies - were discovered in a urine sample. Paul Hunter was fined pounds 4,550 and docked 1,140 ranking points after admitting using marijuana during a tournament in Bournemouth last October.

Stephen Ormerod was fined pounds 800 after a routine sample at the 1997 Benson and Hedges Championship revealed traces of cannabis and Nor-androsterone.