A star British player on the international Scrabble scene faces a three-year ban from the game after successive investigations found that he had broken rules that meant he was under suspicion of cheating.

60-year-old Allan Simmons has denied any cheating, saying that he complied fully with the investigation.

According to a report in The Times, Simmons' infraction relates to rules on how to pick Scrabble tiles from cloth bags during timed matches.

As described on the National Scrabble Association's website, players must "[h]old the bag at eye level or higher and avert your eyes. Show your open palm to your opponent just before drawing. Draw the number of tiles needed and place them either directly on your rack or face down on the table first."

This action proves to other players that the one picking new tiles is not trying to also dump other tiles in the bag at the same time.

Simmons was first accused by 32-year-old Lewis Mackay of not adhering to these rules a few days after their match during the British Masters last summer, The Times reported, leading to Simmons' being handed a one-year ban.

That was then extended to three years after the director of the Scottish Masters tournament brought up similar issues with Simmons' play.

Simmons is said to be a well-known figure in the Scrabble community, having authored and co-authored numerous books on the game and even acted as The Times' own Scrabble Correspondent. The paper said he would no longer be writing for them.

Speaking to the paper, Simmons said that top level games can be quite intense and admitted that "[w]hile I believe I always showed an open hand before drawing fresh letters, if drawing one or two at a time I may not have always had an open hand for each dip in the bag,"

He added: "From the outset I have said that no one is beyond suspicion and complied fully with the investigative process."