You would think that the man who only recently celebrated his 38th birthday would be over the moon. Unfortunately, all the good vibes unceremoniously crashed after Lee was suspended from playing snooker over a new round of match-fixing charges. The new allegations stemmed from reports of irregular betting patterns during his 4-2 loss to John Higgins in a Premier League match earlier this week.
The WBPSA, the snooker world’s governing body, issued a statement announcing Lee’s suspension. “On 2 October 2012 the Crown Prosecution Service announced that there will be no criminal proceedings in the match fixing allegations against Stephen Lee made in 2010,” the announcement read. “Following this decision by the CPS, the WPBSA started its own investigation into these allegations.”
“On 12 October 2012, the WPBSA was informed of suspicious betting patterns relating to a game between Stephen Lee and John Higgins played on 11 October 2012. This suspicious activity has also been referred to Nigel Mawer, the Chairman of the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee.
“The WPBSA have concluded that it would not be appropriate for Stephen Lee to continue to compete on the World Snooker Tour whilst these investigations are undertaken and therefore WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson has taken the decision to suspend Stephen from competition whilst this enquiry is ongoing.”
The WBPSA also added that Lee has a right to appeal the decision, although the suspension would remain in place until “either the conclusion of the investigation or any resultant hearings.”
The match in question featured Lee going up against John Higgins. At one point during the match, Lee was in position to known the score at 3-3 but missed a pink-and-black combination, paving the way for Higgins to get the leg up and win the match 4-2. Fellow snooker player Judd Trump immediately went to Twitter to question Lee’s performance, although those tweets have since been deleted.
Whether Trump was on to something when he sent those tweets or not, it was apparently serious enough for the WPBSA to take action, much to the shock and disappointment of Lee.
“Stephen can’t believe it is happening again, just one week after a case that has been outstanding against him for two-and-half years was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS),” Adam Quigley, Lee’s manager, said.
“Stephen is absolutely devastated. He has worked incredibly hard this year to get back up to number seven in the world. He is sick of all this stuff getting thrown at him and feels there are doubts about him every time he misses a ball.
For somebody who’s under close watch from a lot of people, that apparently seems to be the case.