Stephen Lee: First part of banned snooker star's appeal dismissed

Stephen Lee has lost the first part of his appeal against a 12-year ban from snooker.

A date for the second part of the appeal is yet to be announced.

The 39-year-old Englishman was suspended in September after being found guilty of seven charges of match-fixing dating back to 2008 and 2009.

During part one of the appeal, Lee's legal team questioned the independence of original tribunal chairman Adam Lewis QC, but this claim was rejected.

Lewis also represented Leyton Orient, the League One football club owned by World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn, in their attempt to secure a judicial review of West Ham being handed the Olympic Stadium tenancy.

Lee claimed there was a conflict of interest, given Hearn has worked closely with Lewis outside snooker.

In the second part of the appeal, Lee will challenge the guilty verdict.

He has always maintained his innocence, and immediately announced his intention to appeal against the longest suspension ever handed out in the sport.

Three groups of gamblers made a total profit of nearly £100,000 from betting on matches involving the player from Trowbridge in Wiltshire.

Snooker's governing body, the WPBSA, said it was the "worst case of corruption" in the sport's history.

As well as being banned until his 50th birthday, Lee was also ordered to pay the tribunal's £40,000 costs.