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article imageSnooker player Stephen Lee found guilty of match-fixing

By Tim Sandle     Sep 16, 2013 in Sports
Stephen Lee, the former world number five snooker player, has been found guilty of match fixing by an independent sports resolution tribunal.
The tribunal met in Bristol last week, although the finding was not announced until today. According to the Daily Mail, the verdict was confirmed by Nigel Mawer, the chairman of the disciplinary committee of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA). A fine and probable match ban have yet to be announced.
Stephen Lee, aged 38, had denied the allegations. The charges related to seven matches played in 2008 and 2009, including one at the World Championship. The charges came to light during 2012 and Lee was suspended. The case took about a year to be heard. The case was heard by the Sports Resolutions UK, in a three day hearing chaired by Adam Lewis QC.
The charges were brought by snooker's governing body, the WPBSA. The WPBSA accused Lee of providing information "that is not publicly available" and deliberately influencing "the outcome or conduct of a game or frame". There had been previous suspicion around Lee, on February, 11 2010 Lee was arrested by West Midlands Police on suspicion of cheating, in relation to an investigation by the Gambling Commission over suspicious betting patterns.
In relation to the current charges, the magazine Snooker Scene notes that in total, £111,000 was bet on the seven matches, with winnings totaling £97,000. On one occasion, money from a successful bet was placed in Lee’s wife’s bank account.
Lee has compiled 175 competitive century breaks during his career and won five major titles (in 1998, 2001, 2002, 2006, and 2012; the latter just shortly before his suspension).
The penalty will be announced on September 24, and could range between a five year ban and life ban. WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson told the Metro after the announcement that: "The WPBSA have a zero tolerance approach to match fixing. This particular case was extremely difficult and complicated to bring to a hearing. We believe we have established the world’s most sophisticated system in dealing with corruption in sport and we will take every step under the WPBSA Rules to deal with those responsible.
Today’s ruling is a stark warning to competitors in any sport who could become vulnerable in the future. Stephen Lee was the No.5 player in the world and had the opportunity to be part of snooker’s great success story. His future participation in the sport is now in real doubt as he will face a significant sanction."
World number three Judd Trump, speaking before the Lee verdict was announced, told the BBC that: "If anybody is found guilty, they should be chucked out of the game. There's no time for it in any sport. It is ruining the game. It's going to push away sponsors and money coming into the game. People are going to look at it differently so anybody found guilty should be punished with a lifetime ban."
More about Stephen Lee, snooker, Match fixing, Cheating
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