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Tennis integrity report suggests ‘tsunami’ of match-fixing at lower levels

Tennis integrity report suggests ‘tsunami’ of match-fixing at lower levels
April 25, 2018
Legal / Sport /

Tennis faces "very significant" integrity problems caused by the growth of internet betting, according to an investigator in a long-awaited report into corruption in the sport.

Interim findings of the two-year investigation describe a "tsunami" of corruption at the game's lower levels and, while not revealing widespread corruption at the highest levels of the professional game globally, the report also advises that "there is nonetheless evidence of some issues at these levels".

Surveying more than 3,200 professionals, of whom 464 said they had first-hand knowledge of match-fixing, the Independent Review Panel (IRP) found no evidence of a cover-up of these issues by governing bodies or the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU).

Commissioned by the sport's major bodies (the ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slam Board) in 2016, the investigation followed a report by the BBC and BuzzFeed News that claimed 16 players ranked in the world's top 50 had been flagged to the TIU over suspicions that matches had been thrown.

However, panel Chairman Adam Lewis advised "match fixing is unlikely at the level of grand slam. All the indicators are clear the problem is low."

Among the report's recommendations are a greater monitoring of the lower levels of the game along with greater education among players, the elimination of gambling sponsorships, changes to integrity rules and for the TIU to be beefed up and be truly independent.

The report advises “the integrity problems are greatest where prize money relative to costs, prospects of advancement, pubic interest and attention, and financial resources of tournaments are lowest.”

Tennis operates under a pyramid system with young players competing in Futures and then Challenger tournaments of increasing value under the main tour.

The panel said the advent of online betting and the sale of official live scoring data had greatly exacerbated the problem and recommended that the ITF ends its data sale agreement at $15,000 Futures events, and probably at other ones as well.

According to the report, many of the problems date back to the 2011 agreement between the ITF and data company Sportradar for the sale of live scoring data. A further agreement followed in 2015.

The panel recognised that any change in the system would financially penalise the ITF, which it said should be compensated for by the other governing authorities.

It added that there were no simple solutions but called on the sport "to address and limit the betting markets that ultimately drive, and give expression to, the problem; and to improve the systems of preventing and disrupting breaches of integrity, and for detecting and sanctioning them when they occur.

Tennis's governing bodies have committed to implementing the report's final findings after a period of consultation until the end of June.

The final report will be published later this year. 

14th December 2017 - CRICKET AUSTRALIA STATES ‘NO EVIDENCE’ OF PLAYER INVOLVEMENT IN CLAIMED ASHES SPOT-FIXING

27th October 2017 - NSW POLICE FIND ‘NO EVIDENCE’ OF MATCH FIXING IN NRL 

5th August 2017 - FEDERAL SPORTS MINISTER LAUNCHES REVIEW INTO INTEGRITY OF AUSTRALIAN SPORT

27th July 2017 - UPCOMING STUDY TO REVEAL THAT 35% OF ATHLETES BELIEVE MATCHES AT THEIR LEVEL ARE FIXED 

26th June 2017 - ICSS ESTABLISHES ANTI-CORRUPTION UNIT TO BACK SPORTS INDUSTRY INVESTIGATIONS 

15th June 2017 - QUEENSLAND TENNIS PLAYER CHARGED WITH MATCH-FIXING AT ATP CHALLENGER TOURNAMENT 

24th May 2017 - RISING TENNIS STAR ANDERSON SPARED JAIL IN MATCH-FIXING CASE 

11th December 2016 - TENNIS AUSTRALIA STRENGTHENS INTEGRITY MEASURES AHEAD OF AUSTRALIAN OPEN 

5th August 2016 - NSW POLICE INVESTIGATE FURTHER NRL MATCH-FIXING ALLEGATIONS

5th May 2016 - TENNIS AUSTRALIA APPOINTS ANN WEST AS INTEGRITY HEAD

28th January 2016 - TENNIS AUTHORITIES ANNOUNCE PROBE INTO MATCH-FIXING

25th January 2016 - MATCH FIXING SUSPICIONS RAISED AT AUSTRALIAN OPEN AFTER SITE STOPS BETS ON MATCH

18th January 2016 - BBC REPORT THAT TENNIS AUTHORITIES IGNORED EVIDENCE OF MATCH-FIXING BY KEY PROFESSIONAL PLAYERS 

18th May 2014 - ORGANISED CRIME ESTIMATED TO LAUNDER OVER US$140 BILLION ANNUALLY THROUGH SPORT BETTING


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