TIU bans players, meanwhile tennis max-fixing allegations further thicken

Monday, Aug 29, 2016 13:23

Recently BuzzFeed and the BBC published claims that match-fixing in tennis was a widespread concern. The recently released ESSA (leading sports betting watchdog) report further strengthens these allegations, stating that out of 100 suspicious sporting events, 73 of the reported events were tennis events.

The suspicions were reported to the Tennis Integrity Unit in 2015. This follows the allegations that 16 players who have been ranked in the top 50 had been flagged time and time again to the ITU. The allegations concerning these players date back decades.

While the ATP and WTA tours, tennis’s governing body, the ITF, and the grand slam board have commissioned a review of their anti-corruption practices, the report suggests that the authorities within the sport had been informed.

The pandemic extent of match-fixing within tennis manifests itself in comparing the allegations to those in other sports. The ESSA report notes that football attracted 19 cases of suspicious matches through 2015, the other sports – table tennis, greyhound racing, snooker and ice hockey - each showed up twice throughout 2015.

The report further outlines that, the majority of reported suspicions originated from Europe. A total of 38 cases were reported, of which 19 allegations concerned tennis. Four allegations concerning suspicious betting within tennis were reported in Spain in 2015. Outside Europe, most cases were reported in Turkey, which saw eight tennis matches highlighted as suspicious.

“The start of 2016 has seen a worldwide focus on alleged match-fixing in tennis. The data contained in ESSA’s Q1-3 reports has been used to highlight those concerns,” noted Mike O’Kane, ESSA Chairman, in the report. “The data in our Q4 integrity report reflects previous quarters and, whilst tennis constituted the largest proportion of suspicious betting alerts identified by ESSA members, it should be noted that the vast majority of tennis events are fair,” he further outlined.

Last week, Thai doubles player Jatuporn Nalamphun, though unranked but considered up-and-coming, has been banned from tennis for an 18-month period under the TIU’s anti-corruption program. Nalamphun admitted to three offences and was fined £3,400 (€4,353). Kirill Parfenov from Kazakhstan was banned for life, while Denis Pitner of Croatia was banned for 12 months.