The snooker fan behind a global petition to help bring Stephen Lee back on the World Snooker Tour, says the former multiple ranking event winner deserves a second chance.
The online petition set up by Jon Roberts, who lives in New Zealand, has now racked up more than 900 signatures on the change.org website.
Lee has not played professional snooker since 2013 when he was given a 12-year ban by the sport’s governing body after he was found guilty of match fixing a number of high profile games.
His suspension will be complete on October 12, 2024 – the date of his 50th birthday. However, given his age it would be fair to say it is unlikely he will make a snooker comeback at that time.
A World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) 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.
Before that Lee was crowned winner of five major ranking events including the 2001 LG Cup, the 2006 Welsh Open and the 2012 Players Tour Championship and earned more than £2million in prize money throughout his playing career, according to the CueTracker website.
Now the man behind the petition, which calls on snooker bosses to reinstate Lee as a professional player, has revealed why he feels he should be able to return to top level snooker.
Mr Roberts told Snooker Chat: “I got the idea of setting up a petition after doing some research on his case, and considering similar examples, I feel he was harshly treated.
“I think it is time World Snooker Tour reconsider the length of the ban, and allow him to come back to the game.
“In his day, he was a fabulous and exciting player to watch, with one of the best cue actions the game has ever seen. I think snooker is poorer for not having him in the game – he deserves a second chance.”
Since the story went live on the Snooker Chat website in January, dozens of snooker fans have sent in messages to say they would like to see Lee return.
“The response has been mostly positive,” added Mr Roberts.
“Virtually everyone else is of the consensus that he has served his time, and that his return would be great for the game. I hope we see him back.
“Whether he would chose to, is not guaranteed. But he should be given that opportunity to decide. I obviously hope he will.”
Main Featured Image: Picture by Monique Limbos
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