Snookerbacker

September 6, 2013

D-Day Looms for Lee

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:15 am

LeeThe almost year long saga surrounding the suspended Stephen Lee is likely to come to a head next week as he faces an independent tribunal investigating whether the player was involved in match fixing.

Monday at 10am will see the start of proceedings but I believe that we are unlikely to see a conclusion to the matter on day one as both sides are expected to put forward strong cases at polar opposites of the spectrum.

So what do we know going into this? Well, here’s a quick rundown:

What we know   

1. That on October 2nd 2012, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that there would be no criminal proceedings from match fixing allegations made against Stephen Lee dating back to 2010.

2.  That as a result of a referral by the Gambling Commission on October 5th 2012, Nigel Mawer the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the WPBSA, launched an investigation into alleged match fixing by Stephen Lee in relation to matches at the Malta Cup 2008, the UK Championship 2008, the China Open in 2009 and the World Championship 2009.

3. That on October 12th 2012, Stephen Lee was suspended with immediate effect following a match with John Higgins in the Premier League on suspicion of match fixing. The betting patterns on that match were analysed in this post.

4. That on April 9th 2013, the WPBSA dropped the investigation into the match against Higgins, Lee however remained on suspension.

5. That Lee himself requested that the hearing date be put back to a later date than originally scheduled to allow him optimum time to prepare his defence against the allegations.

6. That the basis of the hearing which begins on Monday relates only to the matches from 2008 and 2009 detailed above, I understand that the allegations relate to the outcome of specific frames rather than the matches themselves.

It is not anyone’s part to speculate on what might happen next week, but you have to suspect that whatever the outcome there will be some fall out from this long and protracted process.

If Lee clears his name then he can I believe quite justifiably launch a legal case against the governing body which might cover loss of earnings, damage to reputation and the like. A case which he is highly likely to win at considerable cost to the governing body.

If the WPBSA’s case is conclusive then Lee can expect a hefty ban and possibly a fine to cover legal costs. I’d expect any ban imposed to reflect the time he has already spent out of the sport.

But even this might not prove the end of matters, should Lee lose the case he is at liberty and in my view quite likely to escalate this matter to a court of law rather than it’s current stage with independent sporting regulators Sports Resolutions UK.

Whatever happens, my guess is that snooker will be hitting the headlines next week for all the wrong reasons.

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