Stephen Lee has been suspended from professional snooker for 12 years after being found guilty of seven counts of match fixing.

The ban period starts in October 2012 when Lee was originally suspended, meaning he cannot play on the tour until 2024, when he will be 50.

So this is effectively a life ban for the biggest snooker corruption case ever prosecuted.

Lee, who has also been ordered to pay £40,000 costs, has the right of appeal.


The Blog said...

12 years. That's a hefty ban. It does send out a clear message to any players considering cheating. This is significant moment in modern snooker. Cheat and you pay a big price.

From a personal perspective it's sad to see Stephen Lee's snooker 'demise'. On form he was a great player. It's a shame to think he'll be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Be interesting to see if he appeals the verdict. If he is innocent (!) then he should appeal but if he's guilty perhaps he'll accept the verdict and move on with life outside of snooker.

Snookerbrain1968 said...

The correct and only sentence appropriate for Lee's illicit activity.
That said, can't help feeling that he's been handed 6 years of his own and the 6 that should have been handed to the Wizard.
JH will be counting his blessings this morning.

Ray147 said...

So it's a 12 year ban for Stephen Lee - I've lost the will to live.

Snooker had a golden opportunity today to send a message to the sporting world in general as to the penalty to be paid for this reprehensible behaviour. They failed miserably by not issuing a lifetime ban. It's irrelevant what length ban Lee is given because he's coming to the end of his career anyway. However the threat of a lifetime ban would serve as a shot across the bows of any other players who considered throwing matches in the future. There have been many examples where the WPBSA talk tough but don't follow through.

I love snooker with a passion and this failure by the authorities to come down hard makes me sick. The excuses being bandied about are farcical because the only person who knows what goes on in the mind of Stephen Lee is Stephen Lee. Many players are under financial pressure but don't choose to throw matches.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde "I can resist anything except temptation"

Ray147 said...

The actual Oscar Wilde quote is more relevant than the paraphrased one - "I did not mean to do it but there is one thing I can't resist - temptation"

TCass said...

You have to question elements of this investigation. The Police afterall did conclude that there was "reasonable doubt" surrounding any match-fixing claims. The WPBSA "balance of probabilities" approach effectively means that if they are 50.1% "sure" that Lee committed wrongdoing, then he should be banned. I have seen some of the matches and none of Lee's misses are abnormal. And Lee is also insisting he is innocent so this is obviously far from clearcut. The WPBSA need to release more case information into the public domain to jusify their conclusions. Just hope that he is not been wrongly accused and punished........

quijibo81 said...

I'm slightly surprised by Stephen Lee's comments that he'll be sitting down with a QC tomorrow to start making holes in the case. I'd have thought the time to do that would have been in advance of the hearing.

He also said he was sure that the outcome would have been different if he'd had a lawyer present at the hearing. I was under the impression from the publication of the ruling that he'd chosen to put his case forward in association with his manager rather than have legal representation present.

It does seem from the outside like a fairly haphazard approach he's taken throughout this process.

Wolfgang said...

I don't think you do have to question elements of this investigation. Unlike the Jogia case where the evidence was mostly circumstantial, it is pretty damming here.

1) The police investigated just one match — a match that wasn't investigated by the World Snooker. They accepted the outcome of the police investigation, which was the correct thing to do IMO.

2) Communication with parties that placed highly irregular bets on his matches (circumstantial).

3) Received cash payments from parties who bet on his matches (pretty dodgy).

4) Payments made into his wife's account that were supposedly "win bonuses" without any contractual evidence of such an agreement (reckless if it is true).

Even if he were telling the truth (in the face of very compelling evidence), he has conducted himself in such a way that his actions have brought the game under "plausible suspicion". If you accept any form of non-contractual payment from people betting on your matches then you are basically putting your neck in the noose. The bottom line is that there were highly irregular bets, communication between Lee and the bettors and payments he couldn't account for. It's an open and shut case. No miscarriage of justice here.

ANON said...

He should read up on Floyd Landis (in particular his interview with Paul Kimmage). After being stripped of his Tour de France win, Landis spent years protesting his innocence (including publishing the highly embarrassing book "Positively False") and pissed away his marriage and all his money on unsuccessful appeals.

Only when he was broke and had burnt all his bridges did Landis come clean and admit his guilt - Lee should take note - his story will only end the same way...

The Blog said...

It's easy to comment in hindsight but the slow nature of the investigation hasn't helped. The John Higgins and Joe Jogia incidents were sorted out within a year.

When the first incident of Lee's match fixing took place in 2008, the WPBSA should have tried to sort it out within a 12 - 18 month period. By allowing the investigation to drag on for so many years it gave Lee - assuming he is guilty - more chances to cheat.

With Lee appealing the verdict, this case may not have reached its final chapter. You never know, there could be a twist in the tale!

Ray147 said...

How come Lee was charged for an offence carried out in 2008 Malta Cup, but similar offences (Ebdon / Wenbo match)seen in 2008 Northern Ireland Trophy, were considered by Hearn to be too far back to be investigated as they were before he took over?

I seem to recall that Snooker Scene highlighted Ebdon's strange shot selections in that match (with diagrams)and referee Alan Chamberlain's subsequent disquiet.

Something doesn't add up here or am I mistaken Dave?

The Blog said...

" After being stripped of his Tour de France win, Landis spent years protesting his innocence "

Same with Lance Armstrong. He denied his 'cheating' accusations for years. He finally admitted the truth in January of this year.

"The USADA report concluded that Armstrong engaged in "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen. In January 2013 he admitted doping in a television interview conducted by Oprah Winfrey, despite having denied it throughout his career."

The language of the USADA, the United States Anti-Doping Agency, does sound very similar in feel to the WBPSA's language regarding Lee:

"This is the worst case of snooker corruption that we've seen," WPBSA disciplinary chairman Nigel Mawer told BBC Radio 5 live.

Both Armstrong and Lee (assuming Lee is 100 percent guilty) involved an extreme, long term, calculated level of cheating and deception.

TCass said...

Re Wolfgang - I believe all the evidence is circumstantial. There has been no direct link between the betting and the cash lodged in his wife's account. What is surprising and very significant is that the investigation was unable to even estimate how much Lee "profited" from the arrangement. I would have thought that putting at least an estimated number on the profit from the scam is key to demonstrating that the evidence is compelling. Lee is innocent until proven guilty.

Snookerbrain1968 said...

Really hope no lasting damage has been done in terms of snooker's image particularly in respect of attracting sponsorship. I fear the worst though.
I suspect that the reason that Lee was so woefully ill prepared and set sail on his defence voyage single handed was that the weight of evidence against was so compellingly damning that he was unable to source a defence lawyer up to the job.
No mention though of any sanctions imposed on any of his associates.
The Higgins case rendered his then manager obsolete in any dealings with snooker for the remainder of his natural life. Yet, the door was left on the latch for Higgins' to walk through after an extremely short suspension.
No wrong doing in relation to match fixing was the judgement yet the 'fixer' is given the opportunity to resurrect his career while his accomplice is discarded with the same abandon in which a young mother disposes of a baby's nappy.
I'd pay the devil to hear Mooney's version.
As for Lee and whosever else has participated in such behaviour, they need to feel thoroughly ashamed for the damage they have done.

Wolfgang said...

Irregular betting on his matches is circumstantial as is contact with the people who placed those bets, but he has admitted to accepting payments from these people, and that is concrete. The reason there isn't an exact figure is because some of the sums were cash payments. Accepting money from people betting on your matches and not being able to account for it is at the very least a reckless financial arrangement which could easily cast suspicion on the sport, even in the case of an innocent person. Even if Sport Resolutions had felt the evidence fell short of proving match-fixing he has clearly brought the game into disrepute by conducting his financial affairs in such an irresponsible way. They kicked out Francisco on those grounds when they couldn't conclusively prove he had fixed the match, so Lee isn't returning to the game. The best scenario for him is that he ends up with a sentence similar to Francisco on appeal. Either way, he's finished on the tour so I think he should just save his money now.

Anonymous said...

What an absoulute plonker. So many players will die for Stephen Lee's heck of a elegant smooth and steady cue action. To see him throw it all away for a few grand he could have easily made himself by winning or making regular deep runs into tournaments which is easily attainable for someone of his standard - it is just bizarre.

Snookerbrain1968 said...

SL announced last Wednesday, there would be announcement through his QC on Friday in relation to his appeal.
Anything further on that ?