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Tennis authorities announce probe into match-fixing
Tennis's governing bodies have announced an independent review into their anti-corruption unit following recent allegations of failing to pursue evidence of alleged match-fixing.
The announcement comes in response to a BBC/Buzzfeed report released just before the Australian Open that claimed authorities failed to thoroughly pursue evidence of alleged corruption in the sport and irregular betting patterns.
Backed by the Chairmen and Chief Executives of the Governing Bodies of International Tennis - ATP, WTA, ITF and the Grand Slam Board - the Independent Review Panel will be headed by Adam Lewis QC aimed at further safeguarding the integrity of the game.
The Panel will review and report on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program and make recommendations for change.
In conducting the review, the Panel will take into account public commentary regarding the processes, procedures and resources of the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU).
The Governing Bodies said they expect the Panel to address issues including:
• How the TIU can be more transparent without compromising the TIU’s need for investigative confidentiality
• Additional resources for the TIU both within the unit and at tournaments
• Structural and/or governance changes that enhance the independence of the TIU
• How to extend the scope and reach of the tennis integrity education program.
Announcing the review, a statement from the governing bodies explained “the Independent Review Panel will review and report on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program and make recommendations for change.
"In conducting the review, the IRP will take into account public commentary regarding the processes, procedures and resources of the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU)."
In a news conference, ATP President Chris Kermode (pictured above) commented "it is unprecedented that the seven stakeholders of tennis have come together so quickly with one purpose, and that is with the sole aim to restore public confidence in our sport.
"All of us, all seven bodies in our sport, believe that with everything in the news and the serious allegations that have been thrown at our sport, that the last thing anyone wants is another sports body investigating itself, which is why we have taken this very bold step to commission a completely independent review.
"This will be an open review, nothing is off the table. Adam Lewis QC and the review panel can look at anything, they can talk to anyone, investigate anything, and the four important points are there is no deadline to this review, it will take as long as is needed. It will cost what it costs.”
Commenting on the strength of international tennis, Kermode added “there have been record crowds here at the Australian Open, and at all the grand slams, all the ATP events, all the WTO events around the world, we have the best generation of players that I've ever seen and tennis is one of and, if not the best sports entertainment products in the world, leaders in integrity and we aim to keep it that way."
Following the BBC/Buzzfeed report, the TIU rejected claims it had suppressed evidence of match-fixing while several high profile players have demanded proof of the allegations.
The Governing Bodies have also sought to emphasise that it is not being reactive to BBC/Buzzfeed investigation, explaining “this review will build on the 2008 Environmental Report that saw tennis become one of the first major sports to establish its own dedicated anti-corruption unit.
“Since 2010, the Tennis Integrity Unit-instigated anti-corruption investigations have resulted in 18 successful disciplinary cases being brought forward including life bans for five players and one official.”
All professional players, support staff and officials are subject to the terms of the Tennis AntiCorruption Program which equips the TIU with substantial investigative powers. These include the right to interview any relevant person of interest and obtain their telephone, computer and bank records.
The Governing Bodies concluded “tennis remains one of the leaders in integrity.
“We have a zero-tolerance approach to all aspects of corruption and all of us are absolutely committed to rooting out corruption whatever it takes.
“The environment for all major sports, including tennis, has changed dramatically over the past eight years and combined with issues raised in the media, we believe now is the right time to review how we continue to fight corruption in the game.
“Given the seriousness of the issue, we call on all governments worldwide to make match fixing a distinct criminal offence, resourced by national crime fighting agencies working in cooperation with sports integrity boards and other relevant stakeholders.”
26th January 2016 - ROD LAVER, GRAHAM FORD AND DAVID GALLOP RECOGNISED IN AUSTRALIAN DAY HONOURS
25th January 2016 - MATCH FIXING SUSPICIONS RAISED AT AUSTRALIAN OPEN AFTER SITE STOPS BETS ON MATCH
18th January 2016 - TENNIS AUTHORITIES REJECT CLAIMS OF SUPRESSION OF MATCH FIXING EVIDENCE
5th December 2015 - SPONSORSHIP SURGES AS TENNIS BOOSTED BY ‘CLEAN’ IMAGE
27th October 2015 - WILLIAM HILL CLAIMS LANDMARK PARTNERSHIP WITH AUSTRALIAN OPEN
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