Betting-related corruption: Tennis under fire by claims of match-fixing, even at 3 Wimbledon matches

Secret files came up suggesting that three matches at Wimbledon were fixed in recent years. Anti-corruption investigators such as the TIU (Tennis Integrity Unit) stated that leaked documents alleged that the sport’s authorities allowed some of the main suspects to keep playing. These files were given to Buzzfeed News and the BBC; the players names are kept secret. However, out of the 16 names of suspect players around 2008, some are still participating. More than half of them will play at the Australian Open, which takes place from 18-31 January 2016.


It is said that 26.000 matches were examined and given to the sport’s authorities, furnishing enough evidence to sail into players, but no action was taken. Three of these matches at Wimbledon are in the documents, but it is uncertain when these took place. The TIU claimed they had firm action against match-fixing. They focussed on looking into deceitful betting patterns after a match between Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo Arguello in 2007. The two players were later acquitted of infringing the rules, but further investigation took place into the gambling on top-level players.


Former head of the anti-corruption program at the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) wasn’t surprised corrpuption happens in tennis: ‘Well, if you were going to invent a sport which was purposely designed for match fixing, the sport you would invent would be called ‘tennis’. Tennis as an individual sport only requires the participation of one individual to fix the match.’


The investigation revealed that players are often being approached in their hotel rooms at the major tournaments. Corrupt gamblers offer the players up to £35.000 per fix. Even though players risk a life ban, which is exactly what happened to Austrian Daniel Kollerer in 2011, apparantly a lot of players are tempted by the short-term money. Kollerer, who reached 55th on the ATP rankings in 2009, was found guilty in 2011 of three contraventions and was fined £70.000 by the TIU.


ATP president Chris Kermode admitted in an interview with the BBC that he is aware of match-fixing in tennis, however it’s not that they are sitting on evidence and ignoring the case. ‘What happens is information and itelligence are given to the TIU and they have to turn that into evidence. There is a big difference between intormation and evidence.’ Kermode continued: ‘I can assure you that tennis is not treating this lightly. The idea that tennis is not acting appropriately is ludicrious.’

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