Corruption probe slams integrity of tennis

Tsunami of corruption hitting lower levels of tennis- independent report

Tennis faces "very significant" integrity problems, particularly at the lower levels of the sport, caused by the sharp increase in internet betting, an independent report concluded in its interim finding Wednesday.

The panel made several recommendations to tackle corruption because it believes the current system used by the TIU (Tennis Integrity Unit) and worldwide governing bodies is "inadequate to deal with the nature and extent of the problem now faced".

A "tsunami" of match-fixing is plaguing lower-level tennis events, says a long-awaited report into corruption in the sport.

Tennis is facing a "tsunami" of integrity problems, according to a two-year investigation into corruption within the sport.

The panel - which spoke to over 100 players and, according to the BBC, cost £20 million ($27.9 million, 22.8 million euros) to fund - found no evidence to support those allegations.

The ATP released a statement soon after the report came out, saying that the betting industry holds some culpability.

The Review was commissioned by tennis' major bodies (ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slam Board) in 2016 following a report by the BBC and BuzzFeed News which claimed 16 players ranked in the world's top 50 had been flagged to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) over suspicions that matches had been thrown.

"Fundamental reform is required", Lewis said.


Internal inquiries into corruption in tennis were dubbed inadequate and the ATP has been criticised for "failing to exhaust potential leads before ending investigations". The final report will be published later this year.

The panel surveyed more than 3,200 tennis players and 200 others involved in the sport. The panel also found "evidence of some issues" at grand slams and tour events, although it did not uncover evidence of a widespread problem at those higher levels.

"Following an initial review of the Interim Report we confirm our agreement in principle with the package of measures and recommendations proposed by the IRP", read their joint statement.

The report also calls for eliminating all sponsorship deals with gambling companies; now, players can't enter into such agreements, but individual tournaments can.

The report dates numerous problems to the 2011 agreement between the ITF and data company Sportradar for the sale of live scoring data.

Lewis noted that at lower tiers of the sport, where prize money can total US$15,000 (NZ$21,252) or US$25,000 (NZ$35,420) at a Pro Circuit tournament, it can be hard for players to earn a living, which makes corruption more likely.

Of the 3,218 players surveyed, 14.5 per cent indicated that they had first-hand knowledge of match-fixing and 11.4 per cent said they had first-hand knowledge of a player providing inside information on their likely performance.

The panel said: "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".

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