Ronnie O'Sullivan clarifies comments on match-fixing in snooker
Ronnie O'Sullivan has backtracked on his claims that match-fixing could be rife among current snooker professionals
Last Updated: 19/09/13 5:39pm
Lee faces a lifetime ban from the sport after an independent panel found him guilty of fixing seven matches he played in 2008 and 2009, prompting O'Sullivan to claim the match-fixing was rife in snooker.
The world champion said on Twitter: "I've heard there's many more players who throw snooker matches .. I suppose Steve lee was just caught out."
He added that "plenty of people have got loads to hide", but World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn accused O'Sullivan of making "vague announcements" and demanded that he name names.
But O'Sullivan has now insisted his only knowledge of match-fixing stems from second-hand accounts dating back several years, and before Hearn was appointed as World Snooker supremo in December 2009.
In a statement released by World Snooker, O'Sullivan said: "I would like to clarify the comments that I made on Twitter 17th September as they were an instant reaction to an issue which I feel strongly about, namely the integrity of my sport.
"The news about Stephen Lee's match-fixing case was eye-opening to all players on the circuit, and sends out a clear message to any would-be cheats.
"I fully support this decision and commend the WPBSA for taking positive action in this case.
"My reference to players throwing matches was out of context in that I was referring back to rumours from many years ago when there were only a few tournaments on the circuit.
"The snooker circuit calendar is now full of tournaments all year round and has undoubtedly been cleaned up since World Snooker was taken over by Barry Hearn, and I do not want my comments to leave a damaging mark on the game.
"These days, players are aware that procedures are in place for monitoring and identifying unusual betting patterns, and combined with the Stephen Lee decision, these act as a significant deterrent to potential cheats.
"If I were aware of match-fixing, I understand that it would be up to me to report any fears to the association.
"I have no intention of undermining the integrity of the sport that I love and enjoy participating in so much and firmly believe that my tweets were taken out of context."