Wed, May 21, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Major investigation into tennis matches looks for corruption


Forty-five tennis matches played in the last five years are under investigation as part of a major inquiry into betting in the sport, it was revealed on Monday.

The review, led by two former Metropolitan Police corruption-busters, is examining unusual betting patterns in the matches and has recommended to tennis’ three ruling bodies to implement radical changes to stamp out the problem.

“The review identified 45 professional tennis matches played in the past five years that had unusual betting patterns that require further review to ascertain if they affected the integrity of professional tennis or if there were other tennis reasons for the outcome of the matches,” said the report.

The inquiry has been led by experienced investigators Jeffrey Rees and Ben Gunn.

Rees established the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit, while Gunn led a group to examine the integrity of the British horse racing industry.

Although the report found that “professional tennis is neither systematically nor institutionally corrupt ... or that no evidence of a link to organized crime exists,” the four Grand Slams, the International Tennis Federation (ITF), ATP and WTA Tour say they will introduce the recommendations.

One of the major initiatives is the creation of a global Integrity Unit and co-ordinated Anti-Corruption Programme.

“We applaud the governing bodies for taking bold and decisive measures to meet the challenges they face,” said Gunn.

“Their decision to accept the recommendations outlined, underpinned by an agreement to introduce a uniform Anti-Corruption Program, will help to maintain and enhance the integrity of a global sport enjoyed by millions.”

Rees added: “The findings of this Review clearly demonstrate the need for having an Integrity Unit. The aim to rid any uncertainty or implication of corruption in tennis is fundamental to the reputation and future standing of the game and is fully supported by all international tennis bodies.”

Betting in tennis has grabbed headlines over the last year.

Men’s world No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko was the subject of an investigation into his match against Argentine Martin Vassallo Arguello in Poland last August after an online betting agency voided all wagers because of suspicious betting patterns.

Vassallo Arguello won after losing the first set when Davydenko retired in the third set with an injury.

The Russian has denied any wrongdoing.

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