STEPHEN Lee has been suspended by snooker’s governing body amid an investigation into suspicious betting patterns in his match against John Higgins at Malvern on Thursday.
The world-number-seven has been banned from all competitions by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association less than 24 hours after his 4-2 loss to the four-times world champion in the PartyPoker,com Premier League.
Lee, who last season won the PTC Grand Finals event, was already being investigated by the WPBSA following match-fixing
allegations made in 2010. Last week the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to proceed with criminal charges but the WPBSA then decided to launch its own investigation.
And at the beginning of October the governing body met with the Gambling Commission to review material relevant to the investigation.
Because of the two ongoing investigations, snooker bosses have decided to suspend the Trowbridge star until proceedings have been concluded. Lee has a right to appeal his suspension.
The statement reads: “The WPBSA have concluded that it would not be appropriate for Stephen Lee to continue to compete on the World Snooker Tour whilst these investigations are undertaken and therefore WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson has taken the decision to suspend Stephen from competition whilst this enquiry is ongoing.”
The WSPBA Statement in Full:
On 2 October 2012 the Crown Prosecution Service announced that there will be no criminal proceedings in the match fixing allegations against Stephen Lee made in 2010. Following this decision by the CPS, the WPBSA started its own investigation into these allegations.
On 5 October 2012 the WPBSA met with the Gambling Commission in order to review material collected by the Gambling Commission which may prove relevant to the WPBSA investigation.
The WPBSA is now in the process of conducting a thorough enquiry into the circumstances and this will be led by Nigel Mawer, the Chairman of the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee.
On 12 October 2012, the WPBSA was informed of suspicious betting patterns relating to a game between Stephen Lee and John Higgins played on 11 October 2012. This suspicious activity has also been referred to Nigel Mawer, the Chairman of the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee.
The WPBSA have carefully considered both the initial information from the Gambling Commission which was reviewed on 5th October 2012 and the new information regarding suspicious betting patterns in relation to the match between Stephen Lee and John Higgins from 11 October 2012.
The WPBSA have concluded that it would not be appropriate for Stephen Lee to continue to compete on the World Snooker Tour whilst these investigations are undertaken and therefore WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson has taken the decision to suspend Stephen from competition whilst this enquiry is ongoing.
Subject to his right to appeal, this suspension will remain in place until either the conclusion of the investigation or any resultant hearings.