Snooker: Stephen Lee launches appeal over 12-year ban

Lee was found guilty of match-fixing charges

Stephen Lee is to appeal against his 12-year ban from snooker and the findings of a tribunal into match-fixing, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association has announced

Former world number five Lee has insisted on his innocence throughout the investigation into claims surrounding seven matches in 2008 and 2009.

Englishman Lee, who turns 39 on Saturday, was found guilty of fixing offences at an independent hearing arranged by Sport Resolutions UK and served with his long ban on September 25.

He was also ordered to pay £40,000 in costs.

The sport's governing body said in a statement on Wednesday: "The WPBSA has received notice of appeal from solicitors representing Stephen Lee.

"He is appealing against the finding of the tribunal, the sanction and the costs awarded. The WPBSA has asked Sport Resolutions UK to manage the appeal process and appoint an independent QC to chair the appeals committee."

At the time of imposing the longest ban in snooker history in accordance with the independent panel's recommendation, the WPBSA said Lee was effectively facing the end of his career, given he would be 50 before being eligible to return.

Lee, a five-time ranking event winner and former World Championship semi-finalist, faced charges from the WPBSA over three matches in the 2008 Malta Cup, two matches at the 2008 UK Championship, one at the 2009 China Open and one at the 2009 World Championship.

After being handed the punishment, he said: "It's over, isn't it? My career's over."

However, he also indicated he would look to appeal.

In the written findings of Lee's case, tribunal chairman Adam Lewis QC said the player was an "unreliable" witness, and a "weak" man who had been taken advantage of by others.

The WPBSA stated that Lee had been in contact with three sets of people who placed a variety of bets on his matches.

It added that on one occasion half the winnings of a successful bet were placed into Lee's wife's bank account, while in excess of £111,000 was placed on the specified matches, resulting in over £97,000 in winnings for those who made the bets.

Lee responded by saying there were "no facts" to support to support the verdicts and added: "I've done nothing wrong. I'm totally innocent."

PA

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