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Snooker star Stephen Lee loses match-fixing ban appeal

By TristanCork  |  Posted: May 15, 2014

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West snooker star Stephen Lee has failed in his bid to overturn a 12-year ban for match-fixing.

The Trowbridge professional had challenged the findings of a tribunal in September 2013 which found him guilty of fixing seven games in 2008 and 2009.

But his case was thrown out by Nicholas Stewart QC, who also increased Lee’s original costs order from £40,000 to £75,000.

The decision means Lee will not be eligible to return to competitive snooker before October 12, 2024 - his 50th birthday.

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A statement issued by the World Professional Billards and Snooker Association read: “Nicholas Stewart QC, sitting as The Appeals Committee, has considered the submissions made by all parties in the final part of Stephen Lee’s appeal against his finding that he was in breach of the WPBSA Rules for match and spot fixing in connection with seven matches in 2008-9.

“The appeal was against the finding, and the costs order imposed by Adam Lewis QC in September 2013.

“Today Mr Stewart has delivered his decision and he has dismissed the appeal. In addition he has increased the costs order in relation to the hearing before Adam Lewis QC from £40,000 to £75,000.

“The term of the suspension remains at a period of twelve years. This means that Stephen Lee will continue to be unable to compete in professional snooker before 12th October 2024.

“The costs in relation to the appeal hearing on Monday are yet to be determined.”

Nigel Mawer, chairman of the WPBSA's disciplinary committee, said: ``There's a degree of sadness because Stephen Lee was a fantastic player and he's thrown it all away through greed and getting involved in match-fixing.

“Basically, as a result of that, he’s now finished with snooker. He’s banned now until he’s 50 years of age, he’s exhausted all avenues of appeal.

“But it is with sadness. It’s harmful to any sport when there are upheld allegations of match-fixing.

“We do have a seniors tour and there are options for people who are older to play snooker if they are good enough but if you’ve been away from the sport for that length of time, I think it would be very difficult for him to re-engage.”

Mawer confirmed that while the WPBSA had initially held out for a life ban for Lee, the sport’s governing body was content with the sanction handed down.

Mawer added: “We did ask for a life ban and the QC who heard the original hearing, Adam Lewis QC, decided that 12 years was appropriate.

“That was reviewed by Nicholas Stewart QC and he also felt that 12 years was an appropriate penalty.

“We’re very content with that, albeit we did ask for a life ban," he added.

Stephen Lee, from Hilperton, near Trowbridge, reached the number five ranked player in the world early in his career, but had suffered a downturn in form at the period the tribunal found he had deliberately thrown frames and matches and netted tens of thousands of pounds when friends and associates betted on his matches.

His form picked up, and he got back into the world's top ten at the time he was initially suspended 18 months ago.

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