Belfast Telegraph

Stephen Lee facing up to heavy rap after match fix verdict

By john skilbeck

Stephen Lee faces a potential life ban from snooker.

The 38-year-old former world number five has been found guilty of match-fixing charges relating to seven matches in 2008 and 2009.

Although the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association will not confirm Lee's punishment until next Tuesday, WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson confirmed he faces "a significant sanction."

It is the biggest case of match-fixing to hit the sport since Australian Quinten Hann was suspended for eight years in 2006 for breaking rules governing match-fixing.

Lee was charged following an investigation into eight matches – four at the Malta Cup in 2008, two at the UK Championship in 2008, and one each at the China Open and the World Championship in 2009.

He was suspended last October and an independent hearing was arranged by Sport Resolutions UK.

The WPBSA asked Sport Resolutions UK to appoint an independent QC to hear the available evidence. Adam Lewis QC was appointed to hear the case, which was heard in Bristol last week.

Lewis ruled: "Stephen Lee is found guilty of agreeing an arrangement and of accepting or receiving or offering to receive payment or other benefit in connection with influencing the outcome or conduct of each of the seven matches in breach of Rule 2.9."

In a statement, the WPBSA confirmed:"The facts are that between February 2008 and April 2009, Stephen Lee was in contact with three different groups of people, all of whom placed bets on the outcomes of his matches or on the outcomes of frames within his matches or on the exact score of his matches.

"This took place in seven matches over four tournaments. The matches were Lee v (Neil) Robertson, Lee v (Marco) Fu and Lee v (Ken) Doherty in the Malta Cup 2008 where there was betting on the exact score and the match outcomes. Lee v (Stephen) Hendry and Lee v (Mark) King in the UK Championship 2008 where the betting was on the outcome of the first frame in each match. Lee v (Mark) Selby in the China Open where there was betting on the match outcome. Lee v (Ryan) Day in the World Championship where there were bets on match outcome and the exact score.

"In one case the person collected the successful bet and placed the half of the winnings into Lee's wife's bank account.

"The total amount bet on these matches was in excess of £111,000 leading to winnings of over £97,000 for the persons placing the bets."

Belfast Telegraph

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