Trowbridge snooker star awaits punishment
5:00pm Saturday 21st September 2013 in News
Trowbridge snooker star Stephen Lee is facing a lifetime ban from the sport after been found guilty of match-fixing.
The charges related to seven matches, between 2008 and 2009, involving Lee. The result of an independent enquiry by Adam Lewis QC into his conduct was announced on Monday.
The enquiry found that Lee, 38, who denied the allegations, was the subject of irregular betting from groups of people connected to his former sponsor Paul Jones, a financial advisor from Stourbridge-based business Prosperity, former manager Neil Clague, and friend Ian McDougall, who lives in Staverton.
The groups won around £97,000 from their registered bets of £111,000 with £40,000 being transferred into the bank account of Lee’s wife Laura.
Nigel Mawer, World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association’s disciplinary chairman, said: “This is such a sad case as despite being 38, Stephen was still considered to be a rising star, with great potential, but he’s gone and thrown all that away now.”
Lee, who has won five titles, will be given his punishment for match-fixing by Mr Lewis at a hearing taking place at an undisclosed location on Tuesday.
During the hearing, Lee, who won £204,154 over the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons, will have an opportunity to put forward any mitigation.
Mr Mawer said that Lee, of Birch Gardens, Hilperton, could receive anything from a warning to a lifetime ban from snooker.
Lee’s offences cover matches in the 2008 Malta Cup, 2008 UK Championship, 2009 China Open and 2009 World Championship.
Mr Mawer said: “If you fix results and aspects of seven matches then it is a stab to the heart of this sport and for someone to fix a match at the Crucible during the World Championship is just shocking.
“A key part of prevention in these types of cases is when you find someone that has done it you hit them hard. This is such a serious case that banning him for a lengthy period of time is the right way forward.”
The Wiltshire Times has approached Lee for his reaction to the case as well his manager, solicitor and close friends but none wanted to comment.
The father-of-four has been suspended from snooker, since last October, following irregular betting patterns in Lee's 4-2 Premier League loss to John Higgins.
Lee, ranked number seven in the world at the time, vowed to fight the suspension and the accusations of match-fixing which have blighted his career.
At the time, his manager Adam Quigley, said: “Stephen just wants to clear his name. He is sick of all this stuff getting thrown at him and feels there are doubts about him every time he misses a ball.”