Stephen Lee suspended for suspicious betting until further notice
The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) decided to suspend Stephen Lee from taking part in any professional snooker tournaments until their disciplinary committee can come to a conclusion regarding the recent suspicious betting patterns relating to a game between Lee and the four-time world champion John Higgins, played on the 11th October 2012.
The bad luck seems to refuse to leave Stephen Lee’s side, as the current world number seven is once more in the position of being suspected of having a less than honest manner of playing the game of snooker.
But what’s even more interesting and more ironically, for that matter, is that at the beginning of this month Lee was cleared of having anything to do with the match-fixing allegations from 2010, when the Gambling Commission deciding “not to commence criminal proceedings under the Gambling Act 2005”.
On October 11th Lee met with the four-time world champion John Higgins (also no stranger from match-fixing allegations) in week six of snooker’s Premier League.
The Trowbridge player was on his way to draw level at three apiece, and so force the decider, when he missed a pink and black combination, thus allowing his opponent to turn the scoreline in his favour and win the match at 4-2.
The very next day the WPBSA “was informed of suspicious betting patterns” relating to the Premier League match, “this suspicious activity being then referred to Nigel Mawer, the Chairman of the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee”, as stated in WPBSA’s official press release.
From this point on it was just a matter of time before the WPBSA considered inappropriate for Lee to take part in any tournaments until the investigation comes to an end, hence the suspension turned into reality.
First to point his finger at Stephen Lee was fellow- player Judd Trump who didn’t show any compassion in expressing his thoughts against the PTC Finals champion, on his private Twitter account, although he deleted the tweets soon after that.
Adam Quigley, Stephen Lee’s manager, declared that the snooker player is practically “devastated” with the news and appealed the suspension imposed by the WBPSA in hope of giving Lee the chance to perform on the green baize until the final decision will be taken.
The history of snooker players and match-fixing allegations has unfortunately been somewhat of a recurring theme of late, as recently as July of this year, Joe Jogia was banned from snooker until the after the 2014 World Championship, after being found guilty of being involved in suspicious betting patterns ahead of a snooker shoot-out match.
So after a thrilling last season that saw the Stephen Lee getting back on track and retaking his place amongst the best players in the world and after winning no less than three PTC events, the sky turns dark once more for the Englishman, who has no choice but to await the final decision that may very well mean the end of his career as a snooker player.