BBC Claims There Is Corruption In Professional Tennis

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Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.

BBC Tennis News

Tennis had its’ back to the wall on the first day of the Australian Open as the sport’s integrity has been dealt a withering blow with claims that Grand Slam event winners and one player actually competing in Melbourne are under suspicion.

According to an investigation by BuzzFeed News and the BBC, who claim to possess a cache of leaked documents from inside the sport, they call the Fixing Files, corruption remains rife despite the formation of the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) eight years ago.

Since then the TIU has apprehended and subsequently banned a succession of 13 lowly ranked, obscure players on charges of match fixing. Yet according to the Fixing Files, current culprits possess much higher profiles with winners of singles and doubles titles at Grand Slam event  tournaments among a core group of 16 players who have repeatedly been reported for losing games when highly suspicious bets have been placed against them.

And one unnamed player, claimed to be currently ranked within the world top 50 and competing at the 2016 Australian Open, is suspected of repeatedly throwing first sets of his matches.

Tennis authorities such as the International Tennis Federation, the ATP World Tour, the WTA and the Grand Slam Committee, that fund the running of the TIU, have been aware for some time that gambling syndicates based in Russia, Italy and the Far East have been operating within the sport. Players have been covertly offered varying amounts up to $50,000 to not necessarily lose matches but throw games or sets.

The TIU has wide-ranging powers to demand evidence from any person working professionally in tennis, be it a player, coach, official, physiotherapist or even journalist. However many of the individuals whose activity attracted the most serious concern are still playing at a high level.

Chris Kermode, the London-based executive chairman and president of the ATP World Tour said last night: “I can assure you that tennis is not treating this lightly. The idea that tennis is not acting appropriately is ludicrous.”

Nigel Willerton, a former Metropolitan Police officer with the Flying Squad who was appointed head of the TIU two years ago, repeatedly travels the world along with his staff investigating all leads on corruption in tennis. He said: “The sport takes a zero-tolerance approach to all aspects of betting-related corruption and all credible information received by the TIU is analyzed, assessed, and investigated by highly experienced former law-enforcement investigators.”

Buzz Feed News insisted that more than 20 gambling industry officials, international police detectives and sports integrity experts said tennis was failing to confront a serious problem with match-fixing.

However Ben Gunn, another former British police officer, formed the TIU after working on corruption in horse racing and cricket. “What they did is a plastic solution which was not effective then and it’s not effective now,” he said.

Australian Richard Ings, a former umpire who served as the ATP World Tour’s executive vice president for rules and competition agreed match fixing was a “regular thing” in the sport. He said the TIU’s response to the problem has been “very disappointing” and “far too secretive”.

Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.