Snooker player Stephen Lee banned for 12 years
Stephen Lee has been banned for 12 years after being found guilty of seven charges of match-fixing.
The 38-year-old was found guilty of seven match-fixing charges by an independent tribunal last week and the sanction imposed today.
Lee, the former world number five, was found guilty of match-fixing charges relating to seven matches in 2008 and 2009.
Tribunal chaimran Adam Lewis QC also ordered that Lee pay costs of £40,000.
A statement from the World Professional Billards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) said: "The suspension is to be calculated from 12 October 2012, when the interim suspension was imposed. Therefore Stephen Lee will not be able to participate in snooker before 12 October 2024."
WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said: "We take no pride in having to deal with such serious issues. However this demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that snooker is free from corruption.
"It is an important part of our anti-corruption approach that players found to be involved in fixing matches or any aspect of a match are severely dealt with.
"We work closely with partners globally and the message we are sending is that if you get involved in match-fixing you will be found out and removed from the sport."
The WPBSA had been seeking a lifetime ban but the organisation's head of disciplinary Nigel Mawer insisted the 12-year suspension was effectively the same thing.
Mawer told Press Association Sport: "We did say we were seeking a life ban because if it was seven matches that had been fixed including during the world championships.
"But in effect it is a life ban because I think it is highly unlikely that Stephen Lee will be able to come back to the sport at this level.
"We don't take great pleasure out of that - this is a case of a fantastic snooker player who has thrown it all away through making the wrong decisions.
"It is only human to have a degree of sympathy for him and it is going to be very difficult for him but we have to send a very strong message that match-fixing is not going to be tolerated.
"To my knowledge this is the longest ban ever handed down and there are £40,000 costs to pay too if he ever wants to come back."
Mawer added that he believed snooker was overwhelmingly a clean sport.
He said: "I am independent and outside the organisation and have a law enforcement background, and all the intelligence on irregular betting come to me.
"Hand on heart I believe it is a very, very clean sport - I have only had to investigate four incidents in 7,000 matches and two of those have led to suspensions, which puts it in context."
Lee is able to appeal against both the finding and the length of the sanction.
In his written findings of the case, tribunal chairman Lewis pointed out that life-time bans were not part of the disciplinary rules at the time of the offences but that he had the discretion to impose one of that length.
He also said that Lee's was now in a "financially perilous state".
Lewis said: "In all the circumstances, I do not regard a life-time ban as proportionate, or as necessary in order to deter.
"On the other hand, I do regard a ban of a lengthy period to be both necessary in order to deter and as proportionate in the circumstances of the case."
Lee's agent Adam Quigley confirmed to Press Association Sport that the 38-year-old will lodge an appeal.
The tribunal's findings stated Lewis believes he was taken advantage of by others.
The findings state: "These breaches occurred when Mr Lee was in a financially perilous state not entirely of his own making and was finding it difficult to obtain entry to enough tournaments.
"As a weak man in a vulnerable position he succumbed to temptation. I consider it unlikely that he was the prime mover or instigator of the activity. It seems to me likely that advantage was taken of him."