Snooker player Stephen Lee guilty of match fixing

London, Sep 17 (IANS) Former World No.5 Stephen Lee was found guilty of fixing seven snooker matches, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) has announced.

The sanction will be announced at a separate hearing Sep 24, the WPBSA said Monday.

Lee, 38, has been suspended since last October and faces a possible lifetime ban, reports Xinhua.

The Englishman was charged following an investigation into seven matches over four tournaments -- three in the Malta Cup in 2008, two at the UK Championship 2008, and one each at the China Open 2009 and the World Championship 2009.

The total amount bet on these matches was in excess of 111,000 pounds leading to winnings of over 97,000 pounds for people placing the bets.

"Stephen Lee is found guilty of 'agreeing an arrangement and of accepting or receiving or offering to receive payment or other benefit in connection with influencing the outcome or conduct of' each of the seven matches in breach of Rule 2.9," according to a WPBSA statement.

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said, "The WPBSA have a zero tolerance approach to match fixing. We have an extensive network of contacts across the world with the gambling industry and with bodies such as the International Centre for Sport Security and the Gambling Commission."

"Stephen Lee was the number five player in the world and had the opportunity to be part of snooker's great success story. His future participation in the sport is now in real doubt as he will face a significant sanction," he said.

It is the biggest match-fixing scandal to hit snooker since Australian Quinten Hann was suspended for eight years in 2006.

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