Two-time world champion Adrian Lewis has been handed a three-month suspended ban and a £3,000 fine by the Darts Regulation Authority, following his heated clash with Jose Antonio Perales in the first UK Open qualifier in Wigan last Friday.
Lewis exchanged words and remonstrated with his Spanish opponent throughout the quarter-final contest, after he grew frustrated at what he perceived to be deliberate gamesmanship.
The 33-year-old prevailed 6-5 courtesy of a fine 12-darter in the decider, but after landing the winning double seven, Lewis had to be led away by security after appearing to push Perales in the neck.
‘Jackpot’ was suspended by the Professional Darts Corporation with immediate effect, but despite admitting that he breached DRA rules, he will now be free to return to action after his three-month ban was suspended for six months.
The Darts Regulation Authority released the following statement on Thursday morning which read: “On Wednesday February 7, the DRA Disciplinary Committee heard the case of Adrian Lewis concerning the incidents in his match with Jose Perales on Friday February 2 2018.
“Mr Lewis has been suspended since the incident. He admitted breaching the DRA Rules and received a three month suspension from competing which is suspended for six months. He was also fined £3,000.”
It’s been a tumultuous few months for Lewis, who has now slipped to 20th on the PDC Order of Merit. He was ruled out for much of 2017 due to a serious back injury, before suffering a shock first-round exit at the recent World Championship. As a consequence, ‘Jackpot’ missed out on a spot in the Premier League for the first time since 2009.
In a statement released shortly after the DRA’s ruling, Lewis claimed: “I am now in a position to issue a statement as the due process has taken place and the Darts Regulation Authority have had their hearing. I deeply regret that my frustrations got the better of me as I felt that my opponent was trying to provoke me.
I realise now that I should have reported any problems to Tournament Officials instead of confronting Jose Antonio Justicia Perales after the match. I would like to offer my sincere apologies to the PDC, the sponsors of the event Coral, my own sponsors who I thank for their loyalty and support, my manager, darts fans and finally my family.
“I would like to say a big thank you for all of the kind messages sent to me from all over the world, and now I just want to put this all behind me and concentrate of playing the game I love and trying to make my way back to the top,” he concluded.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC