Stephen Lee faced the first hearing of an independent tribunal on Monday, charged with fixing a number of professional matches since 2008.

The 38-year-old has been suspended from all snooker ranking tournaments since October 2012, after the sport's governing body the WPBSA conducted internal investigations and subsequently brought seven separate cases against him.

He is accused of seven counts of frame and match fixing, including one during the 2009 World Championship at the prestigious Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

Lee denies each of the claims, and Sports Resolutions UK will hear the cases for a maximum of five days in Bristol before coming to a verdict.

If the tribunal body find him guilty, he could be given a lifetime ban from the game.

Lee, from Trowbridge, Wiltshire, has played professionally since 1992 and boasts five ranking tournament wins to his name.

The player was ranked World Number 8 in the sport before his suspension, just three short of his career-best No.5.

The Crown Prosecution Service dropped a case relating to the same match-fixing allegations in 2012, before the WPBSA stepped in.

It is not the first time snooker has been shrouded in match-fixing controversy.

Four times World Champion John Higgins was suspended in May 2010, after the News of the World showed footage of the Scotsman supposedly accepting a £261,000 bribe to fix matches.

However Sports Resolutions UK cleared him of all the allegations later that year.

Higgins did concede bringing the game into disrepute by not reporting the illegal approach made to him to throw frames, and he was banned for six months and fined £75,000.

Fellow professional Joe Jogia was given a two-year ban in July last year for offences labelled "lower end", while Quinten Hann received an eight-year suspension in 2006 for accepting a proposal to lose a match in the China Open. 

 

Topics:
#World Snooker Championship
#John Higgins
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