Snooker star Stephen Lee, the sixth-ranked player in the world, will not be charged on allegations of match-fixing, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association announced.
Back in 2010, Lee was arrested by West Midlands police and taken in for questioning regarding irregularity in betting patterns and suspicion of cheating following a joint operation involving the police force and the Gambling Commission. Lee was arrested on grounds under section 42 of the Gambling Act 2005, which specifically states that a person commits an offense if he “(a), cheats at gambling, or (b) does anything for the purpose of enabling or assisting another person to cheat at gambling.’
But after more than two years of the case being on the grill, England’s Crown Prosecution Service has decided to drop the charges against the 37-year old Lee. In the statement the WPBSA received, the billiards and snooker governing body said: “The WPBSA has been informed by the Gambling Commission that the CPS will not be taking further action in relation to the match-fixing allegations against Stephen Lee, made in 2010. The Commission has decided not to commence criminal proceedings under the Gambling Act 2005.”
“The WPBSA will now be allowed access to details pertaining to the enquiry in order to consider whether there has been a regulatory breach of the governing body’s rules,” the statement adds.
Obviously, nobody’s happier to see the case dropped than Stephen Lee himself. While it hasn’t hampered his skills on the table – he recently won the PTC Grand Finals earlier this year – it’s certainly a welcome development to see that cloud that has been hanging over his head for the better part of two years has finally dissipated.
From here, we only expect Lee to continue being one of the best snooker players in the world. He’s already proven to be a formidable player, but with the weight of the care finally off his shoulders, who knows how much better he’s going to be.