Lee has ban appeal dismissed

  • Last Updated: May 15 2014, 21:43 BST

Stephen Lee is facing up to a snooker career in ruins after failing in his appeal to overturn a 12-year ban for match-fixing.

Stephen Lee: His appeal was dismissed
Stephen Lee: His appeal was dismissed

Lee, a five-time ranking tournament winner and former world number five will not be eligible to return to competitive snooker for more than 10 years.

The 39-year-old had challenged the findings of a tribunal in September 2013 which found him guilty of fixing seven games in 2008 and 2009.

They included deliberate defeats to Ken Doherty and Marco Fu at the 2008 Malta Cup, and agreeing to lose the first frame against Stephen Hendry and Mark King at the 2008 UK Championship.

But Lee's appeal 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.

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association had initially pushed for a life ban but said they were satisfied with the punishment.

The chairman of the WPBSA's disciplinary committee, Nigel Mawer, told Sky Sports News: "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."

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."

Stephen Lee factfile:

1974: Born October 12 in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

1992: Turns professional.

1998: Wins first ranking tournament, the Grand Prix, defeating Marco Fu 9-2 in the final.

2002: Wins Scottish Open and Grand Prix and takes over as provisional world number one early the following season.

2003: Best run in the World Championship, reaching the semi-finals.

2005: Marries long-term partner Laura.

2008: Records highest tournament break, a 145, in the Northern Ireland Trophy.

2006: Enters Welsh Open outside the provisional top 16 after a poor run of form but wins the tournament, beating Shaun Murphy 9-4 in the final.

2008: Loses in first round of World Championship and contemplates retirement.

2010: Arrested by West Midlands Police in relation to an investigation by the Gambling Commission over suspicious betting patterns.

2011: October - Returns to top 16 of world rankings.

2012: March - Reaches first final since 2006 but loses to Mark Allen 10-1 in World Open. Two weeks later wins first major professional title in six years - his fifth overall - by beating Neil Robertson 4-0 in the final of the Betfair PTC Grand Finals.

October 2 - Crown Prosecution Service announce there will be no criminal proceedings in the match-fixing allegations against Lee made in 2010. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association starts its own investigation into these allegations.

2012: October 11 - Loses 4-2 to John Higgins in Premier League match.

October 12 - WPBSA confirms Lee suspended from action while investigations into suspicious betting patterns in the previous night's match against Higgins take place.

October 24 - Lee's appeal against the suspension is dismissed by the WPBSA .

2013: February 14 - The WPBSA announces Lee has ''a case to answer'' over allegations of match-fixing at four tournaments.

September 16 - Found guilty of fixing seven matches by the WPBSA.

September 25 - Given a 12-year ban after being found guilty of seven charges of match-fixing. Announced his decision to appeal.

2014: May 15 - After an appeal, Lee is told that his ban still stands.