Lee back in dock as snooker faces new cheat storm

Snooker is today embroiled in another match-fixing storm after the game's governing body told Stephen Lee he has "a case to answer" following a lengthy investigation.

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Thirty-eight-year-old Lee, a former world No.5, is alleged to have breached World Professional Snooker and Billiards Association rules at four tournaments, including the 2009 World Championship.

Speaking about the Trowbridge player, who maintains his innocence, the WPBSA said it had considered a "large amount of material" before deciding to take action against Lee, who has been suspended since October 12.

The details emerged after the WPBSA gathered a tranche of material from the Gambling Commission, West Midlands Police and third parties.

The claims relate to four matches at the Malta Cup 2008, two matches at the 2008 UK Championship 2008, one match at the 2009 China Open 2009 and one match at the 2009 World Championship.

The rules over which Lee will face a hearing relate to betting, specifically providing information that "is not publicly available" and deliberately influencing "the outcome or conduct of a game or frame".

Lee lost three of four group-stage matches at the 2008 Malta Cup.

He beat Stephen Hendry in the first round and Mark King in round two at the UK Championship later in the year before losing to Shaun Murphy in the quarter-finals.

He lost 5-1 to Mark Selby in the first round of the 2009 China Open, and 10-4 to Ryan Day in his opener at the Crucible.

Lee responded through his lawyer, Tony Miles, and maintains his innocence.

A statement said: "Mr Lee denies all allegations brought against him.

"He does not accept he has been involved in any breaches of the rules and is disappointed that a decision has been taken to bring proceedings against him."

"He has been a professional snooker player for 20 years and has always sought to uphold the highest standards as required of such a player. He has fully co-operated with the WPBSA in its investigation."

Lee has won five ranking titles – the 1998 Grand Prix, 2002 LG Cup, 2002 Scottish Open, 2006 Welsh Open and 2012 Players Tour Championship.

West Midlands Police said in October last year, shortly before a Premier League clash with John Higgins, that they and the Gambling Commission had ended an investigation into Lee, who was arrested in February 2010 but never charged over match-fixing.

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