SNOOKER: September date for Lee match-fixing hearing
TROWBRIDGE snooker star Stephen Lee will face a disciplinary hearing into allegations of match-fixing in September and today faced criticism from snooker's world governing body for holding up the case.
The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) said former world number five Lee had caused "significant delays" to the hearing, which will take be undertaken by the London-based body Sport Resolutions.
Lee, who has protested his innocence, was told he had a "case to answer" in February after he was alleged to have breached WPBSA rules in matches at four tournaments, including the 2009 World Championship.
Snooker's world governing body today said Lee, who has fallen to number 22 in the world during a suspension that began on October 12, would have his case heard on September 9.
A statement from the WPBSA said: "On 14 February 2013 Stephen Lee was charged with serious breaches of the WPBSA members rules (betting rules) in relation to eight matches over four tournaments in 2008-09.
"As per the WPBSA disciplinary rules, the WPBSA requested that SR UK [Sport Resolutions] appoint an individual to sit as an independent disciplinary hearing board to hear the case against him.
"On 7 March 2013 Adam Lewis QC was appointed by SR UK to act as the independent disciplinary hearing board.
"A timetable was set down for the proceedings and this was agreed by those representing Mr Lee."
Lee's representatives had been hopeful in March that the 38-year-old Trowbridge potter would have the opportunity to clear his name before the World Championship, which began on April 20.
The wait has gone on, until today's confirmation from the WPBSA that a convenient date for all parties has been found.
"The WPBSA has met all the requirements set down by the independent disciplinary hearing board, unfortunately Mr Lee has not," the WPBSA added.
"This has caused significant delays to the process which have been compounded by Mr Lee changing his legal advisers on three occasions.
"On Monday, 17 June 2013, Mr Lewis set a new timetable for the proceedings and a date of 9 September 2013 for the case to be heard."
In its investigation of matches involving Lee, the WPBSA, which is snooker's regulatory body, said in February it had ''gathered a large amount of material from the Gambling Commission, West Midlands Police and third parties in relation to these allegations.''
Lee, who was ranked eighth in the world at the time of his suspension, is accused of breaching rules at the 2009 World Championship and faces further claims involving four matches at the 2008 Malta Cup, two games at the UK Championship that year and one match at the 2009 China Open.
He is alleged to have provided information "that is not publicly available" and deliberately influenced "the outcome or conduct of a game or frame" and if found guilty of any rule breach, could face a hefty ban from the sport.
Snooker's governing body dropped proceedings regarding a Premier League match against John Higgins last October because they believed the separate case would have been prejudiced by the main inquiry.
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