Flagged matches rise to 48 in Q1, says Tennis Integrity Unit

NEW YORK • The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), the anti-corruption body that has come under increased scrutiny for perceived ineffectiveness and obfuscation, shed a sliver of light on its work on Friday by publishing statistics about suspicious betting patterns over the first three months of the year.

The unit reported that it had received alerts from betting companies concerning 48 matches, which represents 0.2 per cent of the 24,110 matches played in the first quarter of the year.

Of the 48 matches,

•One was at the Australian Open

•One was at a Women's Tennis Association Tour event

•12 were at Association of Tennis Professionals Challenger events

•24 were at the lowest-level International Tennis Federation (ITF) men's events, known as Futures

•10 were at ITF women's events.

No alerts were generated on the ATP World Tour or team competitions, including the mixed-team Hopman Cup, the Davis Cup or the Fed Cup.

The report did not name specific matches or the players involved.

The integrity unit also said that the 48 matches were a significant increase from the 31 matches flagged for the same period last year.

The unit, which has been criticised for lacking transparency, said Friday's report reflected a commitment to providing quarterly updates on anti-corruption efforts. But not all were satisfied.

Stefano Berlincioni, a betting expert who has tracked suspicious patterns on the lowest level of professional tennis, said the numbers published reflect only a fraction of the suspicious patterns he has detected at ITF events.

"According to TIU, we could have had only one fixed match every three days at ITF level, when, in fact, it happens basically every day," he said.

The integrity unit noted in its briefing that no industry standard of indicators for match alerts had been established.

The burden of proof needed for the unit to discipline players involved in suspicious matches has rarely been met, although Friday's report included summaries on three previously announced cases against players.

The integrity unit reiterated on Friday that an alert is not evidence of match-fixing.

"There are many reasons other than corrupt activity that can explain unusual patterns, such as - incorrect odds-setting, player fitness, fatigue and form, playing conditions, personal circumstances," the TIU said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 24, 2016, with the headline 'Flagged matches rise to 48 in Q1, says Tennis Integrity Unit'. Subscribe