Stephen Lee match-fixing: Barry Hearn hits back at Ronnie O'Sullivan

Last Updated: 18/09/13 11:50am

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World Snooker boss Barry Hearn has hit back at Ronnie O'Sullivan's comments about players match-fixing on the back of Stephen Lee being found guilty.

Lee was found guilty of fixing seven matches and will be handed out a punishment next week - which looks likely to see his snooker career being ended.

O'Sullivan took to Twitter to say he believed more players had been fixing matches, but Hearn has hit back at those suggestions.

Hearn is proud of the integrity unit he has set up in snooker to combat corruption, and he believes that finding Lee guilty proves that players will not get away with trying to cheat.

World Snooker have written to O'Sullivan asking him to name names or produce evidence of others match-fixing or he could land himself in trouble for making accusations.

"I'm very disappointed - I've told Ronnie already I've told his people I'm very disappointed," Hearn told Sky Sports News.


"They're stupid comment to make, unless it's backed up with evidence and hard facts, and names. Ronnie's talking about transparency, well tell us the names and we'll investigate.

"But we've not seen any surprising moves, any moves in betting odds. We've got great relationships with gambling authorities around the world, we watched every single solitary match and we know what's going on.

"Whether Ronnie was sitting at home bored I don't know. He's been written to and warned that he himself could be charged with bringing the game into dispute unless he can come up with some hard evidence and some names and I don't think he can quite frankly."

Hearn is concerned that those sort of comments being made by the current world champion and most recognised player in snooker would only damage the game's reputation - and he insists they are well on top of any corruption.

"It was a stupid thing to Tweet and I've told him so, but let's get on with it," Hearn added.

"Let's remember, he's the world snooker champion and people will listen but those sort of calls are unnecessary rumour mongering with absolute no truth as far as we can see and we're on the case 24/7."

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