Alarm sounded over April-June exhibitions
Match-fixing watchdog the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) has received reports of 24 suspicious matches held between April and June. Typically, although not necessarily, the alerts point to fixing activity and inside betting, which the TIU undertakes to investigate.
alerts point to fixing activity and inside betting
The games in question are exhibitions organized while both men’s and women’s tours remain suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Both the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) allow players to compete in exhibitions when tours are inactive.
“Players are self-employed independent contractors and, as such, are free to make decisions concerning their own activities during the time the Tour is suspended,” an ATP spokesman told Reuters earlier this month.
Corrupt activity likely to increase, TIU warns
According to an Associated Press report, the alerts were filed by betting companies that track unusual gambling patterns. As usual, the TIU did not give details of specific matches or events under investigation but predicted a rise in illicit betting activity in the coming months.
a firm indicator that corruptors remain active”
“Suspicious betting on tennis during the lockdown is seen as a firm indicator that corruptors remain active, and are likely to increase their focus on the sport when professional tennis resumes in August,” the TIU warned in a statement.
Pandemic fallout heightens risk
The impact of coronavirus on the sporting world and the betting industry is far-reaching. The TIU warned on its website that months of inactivity, leading to reduced playing and earning opportunities, would increase “the risks associated with betting-related corruption and doping violations.”
As an initiative of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), Grand Slam Board, ATP, and WTA, the TIU reflects a zero-tolerance stance against gambling-related corruption in the professional tennis circuits. In May, the TIA slapped a lifetime ban on Egyptian tennis player Youssef Hossam for match-fixing and corruption offenses.
from January 2021, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) will replace the TIU
With effect from January 2021, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) will replace the TIU as the independent integrity organization for professional tennis. As reported in a media release on its website, the TIU said the change will mark “a further and significant move towards the organization’s operational and legal independence from the ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slams.”