Stephen Lee has lost the first stage of an appeal as he challenges his 12-year ban from snooker.

The 39-year-old was given the suspension by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) last September after being found guilty of seven charges of match-fixing dating back to 2008 and 2009.

A two-part appeal began with Lee, who denies committing any offence, challenging the use of Adam Lewis QC as chair of the independent disciplinary tribunal that heard the case.

Lewis also represented Leyton Orient, the League One football club owned by World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn, in their attempt to secure a judicial review of West Ham being handed the Olympic Stadium tenancy.

Lee claimed in his appeal that there was a conflict of interest, given Hearn has worked closely with Lewis outside snooker.

However the WPBSA announced on Tuesday that an independent appeals body that considered the challenge earlier this month has rejected Lee's argument.

The WPBSA said in a statement: "The appeals committee have considered the evidence and submissions made by all parties in the first part of Stephen Lee's appeal against his conviction for match fixing. Today they have delivered their decision and they have dismissed this aspect of his appeal.

"A new date will be set to hear the remainder of his appeal."

Lee will challenge the guilty verdict in the second part of the appeal.