Snooker: Stephen Lee appeals against record 12-year ban

LONDON (AFP) - England's Stephen Lee has appealed against his 12-year ban from snooker for match-fixing, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) announced Wednesday.

Lee, the former world number five, had repeatedly insisted upon his innocence of match-fixing charges relating to seven matches in 2008 and 2009.

He was banned last month by an independent tribunal headed by leading English sports lawyer Adam Lewis and Lee's appeal was widely anticipated.

"The WPBSA has received notice of appeal from solicitors representing Stephen Lee," the world governing body said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

"He is appealing against the finding of the tribunal, the sanction and the costs (£40,000) awarded. The WPBSA has asked Sport Resolutions UK to manage the appeal process and appoint an independent QC to chair the appeals committee." After being handed the ban Lee, who turns 39 on Saturday, said: It's over, isn't it? My career's over." However, he also said he would appeal.

Lee's case is the biggest match-fixing scandal to hit snooker since Australia's Quinten Hann was suspended for eight years in 2006 after he was caught in a sting by undercover reporters where he agreed to lose a game at the China Open in return for money.

The WPBSA said Lee was in contact with three different groups of people all of whom placed bets on the outcomes of his matches or on the outcomes of frames within his matches or on the exact score of his matches.

The total amount bet on these matches was in excess of £111,000 (S$221,400) leading to winnings of over £97,000 for the persons placing the bets.