Stephen Lee snooker match-fixing sentence deferred

Former world number five Stephen Lee must wait until Wednesday to discover his sentence for snooker match-fixing.

A hearing to consider punishment took place on Tuesday for what the sport's governing body has described as "the worst case of corruption" it has seen.

Lee was found guilty of seven match-fixing charges following an independent tribunal chaired by Adam Lewis QC.

Shaun Murphy, the 2005 world champion, said Lee, 38, had "defrauded snooker" and should be banned for life.

The fixed matches

2008 Malta Cup: Conspired to lose to Ken Doherty and Marco Fu, as well as losing to Neil Robertson by a pre-determined score, with the match ending 5-1 to Robertson.

2008 UK Championship: Agreed to lose the first frame in matches against Stephen Hendry and Mark King.

2009 China Open: To lose to Mark Selby by a set score, Selby winning 5-1.

2009 World Championship: That Ryan Day would win by a pre-arranged score, Day winning 10-4.

Lee, of Trowbridge in Wiltshire, denied the allegations and said he had too much to risk by deliberately losing frames or games.

But the tribunal concluded that he deliberately lost matches against Ken Doherty and Marco Fu at the 2008 Malta Cup and agreed to lose the first frame against both Stephen Hendry and Mark King at the 2008 UK Championship.

In addition, the tribunal found that Lee lost matches by a pre-determined score to Neil Robertson at the 2008 Malta Cup and to Mark Selby at the 2009 China Open, also conspiring to lose his 2009 World Championship first-round match to Ryan Day.

A spokesman for the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association said on Tuesday: "The hearing in the case of Stephen Lee to decide the sanction took place today. Adam Lewis QC will deliver his decision on sanction tomorrow."

Murphy said he felt "quite a large amount of pity" for Lee, adding: "He was a really nice guy and I've never had a cross word with him." But he said there was no place in snooker for "plotting to lose on purpose".

The current world number four told BBC Radio 5 live: "When those people have approached him to do whatever it is that he is guilty of doing, the answer should have been 'no'.

"It is a very difficult one. Things do need to be looked at as to why he found himself in a position where he felt the need to cheat.

"But ultimately, as a professional sportsman, he has not just defrauded himself, he's defrauded the game, its members and its reputation. I don't think we should ever see Stephen Lee play professional snooker again."

Stephen Lee's career

  • Turned professional: 1992
  • Ranking tournament wins: 5 (Grand Prix 1998; LG Cup 2001; Scottish Open 2002; Welsh Open 2006, PTC Grand Finals 2012)
  • Highest tournament break: 145

In a 35-page ruling on the case published on 16 September, Lewis concluded that "on the balance of probabilities" Lee had cheated.

He said three groups of people had made a total profit of nearly £100,000 by placing bets based on inside information from the player.

The tribunal concluded that Lee deliberately lost matches against Ken Doherty and Marco Fu at the 2008 Malta Cup and agreed to lose the first frame against both Stephen Hendry and Mark King at the 2008 UK Championship.

In addition, he lost matches by a pre-determined score to Neil Robertson at the 2008 Malta Cup and to Mark Selby at the 2009 China Open.

Lee conspired to lose his 2009 World Championship first-round match to Ryan Day, going on to be defeated 10-4, the tribunal ruled.