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'No way back for Lee' says World Snooker chief

ESPN staff
September 26, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Stephen Lee to appeal ban


Barry Hearn sees no way back into snooker for Stephen Lee after the former world No. 5 was banned for 12 years on Wednesday for match-fixing.

Lee was found guilty of fixing seven matches, including the 2009 World Championship at the Crucible, and is set to appeal the decision after saying he was 'totally innocent' and 'absolutely devastated'.

World Snooker chairman Hearn though believes it will be tough for the 38-year-old to return to the sport if his appeal is unsuccessful.

"The courts today don't seem to like to give out lifetime bans in any sport, this seems to be the policy generally. But 12 years out of the professional circuit - it's going to be a mountain to come back from that, I don't see any way back. I think 12 years effectively is a lifetime ban, to be perfectly frank," Hearn said.

World No. 3 Judd Trump felt 'it should have been a life ban, and the former UK Champion said: "12 years pretty much puts him out of his career, so he's going to have to look at something else to do. Anything over 10 years was right, I think."

And he went on to add that he has not been approached to fix games.

"Obviously if I got approached I'd go to Barry and everyone straight away. Some people find it a little bit harder and give into temptation. For me, I've been brought up wanting to win every game, that's just my mindset but other people obviously think differently," he said.

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