Wagers no 'proof' of corruption in tennis

LONDON • The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) was adamant on Thursday that a report highlighting an alarming incidence of suspicious betting activity within the sport was not the same thing as evidence of corruption.

According to figures compiled by Essa, a sports gambling watchdog, 73 of 100 suspicious events it noted last year came from tennis matches.

But, in a statement, the TIU said: "Essa is one of the organisations that has a memorandum of understanding with the Tennis Integrity Unit.

"All information supplied by betting operators is analysed by the TIU. This analysis includes many other factors that can influence results, including player fitness, fatigue, form, playing conditions and personal circumstances.

"If the analysis suggests suspicious activity, the TIU moves to investigation, which includes interviewing players, taking phones and laptops.

"An alert can be an indicator of suspicious activity. But it is not proof or evidence that corruption has taken place."

Last week, the International Tennis Federation announced that two umpires had been banned for corruption and four more were suspended while under investigation.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, the TIU said unranked Thai player Jatuporn Nalamphun had been banned for 18 months and fined after being found guilty of offences under the Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme.

According to the Essa report, more than a third of the suspicious tennis matches took place in the final quarter of 2015.

The organisation said 24 tennis matches led to alerts from betting companies, compared to eight football matches, one snooker match, one ice hockey match and one greyhound race.

An Essa alert is issued when suspicious transactions are flagged by its members.

Where evidence of potentially fraudulent activity emerges, it informs the relevant sports governing body.

Most of the 19 players and officials sanctioned by the TIU since its creation in 2008 have been operating at the lower levels of the sport, where financial rewards and media scrutiny are not as great as the top tier.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2016, with the headline 'Wagers no 'proof' of corruption in tennis'. Print Edition | Subscribe