Tennis betting probe finds no institutional corruption

A probe has found no systematic or institutional corruption within tennis but new measures were needed to boost the sport’s anti-corruption drive, stakeholders said on Monday.

The “Environmental Review of integrity in Professional Tennis” was launched in January following months of speculation regarding the extent of gambling in the sport.

Two former London policemen, Jeffrey Rees and Ben Gunn, headed the inquiry.

While it found that professional tennis was “neither systematically nor institutionally corrupt”, the review found 45 professional matches in the past five years that had unusual betting patterns and required further investigation.

Dozens of professional men’s and women’s matches are played every day around the world.

The review also said tennis authorities should implement a series of recommendations including tighter accreditation procedures, lengthy suspensions and even lifetime bans for offenders, and a uniform anti-corruption programme.

Several players, male and female, have said in recent months they have been approached to lose, or affect the outcome of matches.

Four Italian players have received bans for betting on tennis matches.

The ATP has been trying to clamp down on any form of corruption in the game, banning players from accessing laptops at tournaments and posting signs asking them to telephone a 24-hour hotline if they hear of anything untoward.

The WTA, which runs the women’s tour, has also acknowledged that gambling is a problem, saying that anyone involved should face a life ban.

“This review is a positive statement,” Grand Slam committee administrator Bill Babcock said. “Tennis is a healthy sport. There are corruptors around the sport but not inside.”

He said the recommendations, which have been accepted by all stakeholders, would be implemented by the end of the year.—Reuters

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