Alec Swann - Foolish Lee pays for his greed

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

Avarice is defined by the dictionary as the extreme greed for riches.

Plenty of people can lay claim, wittingly or otherwise, to this one of the seven deadly sins and Stephen Lee has had his career ruined by it.

A 12-year ban from snooker, for a 38-year-old, effectively amounts to a life ban from the sport and should serve as warning to others who are tempted by the lure of thre almighty dollar.

Whether it does or not will only be proved by the passage of time and it would be a safe bet - pun very much intended - that somewhere down the line there will be others who try to boost their bank balance by indulging in illegal activity.

Human nature dictates that regardless of the consequences, individuals will choose to go down the wrong path and Lee, for one reason or another, opted for this course of action.

Altering the outcome of matches, as he did on seven occasions, was both extremely naive and ludicrously foolhardy and there is no place in professioanl sport for this kind of behaviour.

It would be nice to think that his inevitable appeal will prove successful and that all charges will be dropped but somehow that doesn’t seem likely.

These are serious misdemeanours and no governing body in their right mind would act if the evidence wasn’t conclusive.

Players of Lee’s calibre are so good that missing shots or losing frames wouldn’t be too hard a feat to accomplish and that is probably where he has been caught out.

As with the Pakistani cricketers who were found guilty of spot-fixing by bowling no-balls to order, Lee would have believed he could hide his foul play in the small details that all combine to form a frame of snooker.

Missing a shot here and there might not appear to amount to anything when taken in isolation but add in the betting, the bank transfers and the other peripheral activity and the picture becomes much darker.

So dark, in fact, that when it was finally illuminated, one of the sport’s main men was discovered to be in the spotlight.

Sport doesn’t need this and snooker doesn’t need this.

Silly, silly boy.