• Snooker

Lee hit with 12-year ban

ESPN staff
September 25, 2013
Stephen Lee was found guilty of seven match-fixing charges, including incidents in the snooker world championship © Getty Images

Stephen Lee has been banned for 12 years and fined £40,000 after being found guilty of seven match-fixing charges.

The former world No. 5 has denied any wrong-doing and is punished for fixing matches in 2008 and 2009, including a match at the World Championship at the Crucible.

After a hearing on Tuesday, Lee was made to wait until Wednesday to learn of his fate, and the 38-year-old will not be allowed to participate in any tie run by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA).

World Snooker had described it as the "worst case of corruption" it had seen. Lee will appeal the ban.

Speaking to reporters outside his home, Lee revealed he was "absolutely devastated" and "totally innocent".

"Absolutely, I wouldn't be here now if I wasn't," Lee said on whether he thought his appeal would be successful. "I'm absolutely devastated, I've done nothing wrong. I'm totally innocent from this."

Lee said he will make an official statement on Friday, but further added to reporters: "11 months of this is outrageous. I have been a very angry man. The kids are getting picked on at school."

An independent tribunal concluded that Lee had lost matches on purpose against Marco Fu and Ken Doherty at the 2008 Malta Cup and conceded the opening frame against record seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry and Mark King at the 2008 UK Championship.

They also found Lee to have lost matches by a certain scoreline at the 2008 Malta Cup to Neil Robertson and to Mark Selby at the 2009 China Open. He was also found to have deliberately lost to Ryan Day at the Crucible.

Jason Ferguson, chairman of the WPBSA, said: "We take no pride in having to deal with such serious issues. However this demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that snooker is free from corruption. It is an important part of our anti-corruption approach that players found to be involved in fixing matches or any aspect of a match are severely dealt with. We work closely with partners globally and the message we are sending is that if you get involved in match fixing you will be found out and removed from the sport."

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