TROWBRIDGE snooker star Stephen Lee has again maintained his innocence after the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association ruled he did have a case to answer following a match-fixing investigation.
The 38-year-old from Trowbridge, who has been ranked as high as fifth in the world and began this season at number eight, is in a battle to save his career after he is alleged to have breached WPBSA rules in matches at four tournaments, including the 2009 World Championship.
The WPBSA said in a statement today it had considered a "large amount of material" before deciding to take action against a player who has been suspended from the sport since October 12.
A statement on Lee's behalf from his Bristol solicitors and posted on Twitter by management company Pockets Promotions said: "Mr Stephen Lee wishes it to be clearly known that he denies all allegations brought against him by the WPBSA.
"He does not accept that he has been involved in any breaches of the rules and regulations and is gravely disappointed that a decision has been taken to bring proceedings against him.
"The allegations relate to events in 2008 and 2009 and he is determined to clear his name. It is understood that the WPBSA continues to investigate an allegation from 2012 which is also denied.
Solicitor Tony Miles said: "Mr Lee is shocked by the suggestions made against him, he ahs been a professional snooker player for 20 years and has always sought to hold up the highest standards as required of such a player.
"He has full co-operated with the WPBSA in its investigation.
"He continues to be suspended by the WPBSA and the impact of the suspension and the allegations upon him and his family is considerable.
"As a hearing is now to take place it would not be appropriate to make any further comment at this stage.''
Lee - who has maintained his innocence since being suspended last October - appealed against his initial suspension but that was rejected on October 24 and it remains in force.
The WPBSA statement added: "Stephen Lee is currently suspended from competition and Jason Ferguson, the chairman of the WPBSA, has decided that the suspension will remain in force until the conclusion of the hearing or hearings and the determination of this matter.''
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