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  1. #1
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    Tennis: Evidence of suspected match fixing revealed

    Secret files exposing evidence of widespread suspected match fixing at the top level of world tennis, including at Wimbledon, can be revealed by the BBC and BuzzFeed News.

    Over the last decade 16 players who have ranked in the top 50 have been repeatedly flagged to the tennis integrity unit over suspicions they have thrown matches.

    All of the players, including winners of Grand Slam titles, were allowed to continue competing.

    The Tennis Integrity Unit - set up to police the sport - said it has a zero-tolerance approach to betting-related corruption

    The cache of documents passed to the BBC and Buzzfeed News include the findings of an investigation set up in 2007 by the organising body, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).

    Its job was to look into suspicious betting activity after a game involving Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo Arguello. The two players were cleared of violating any rules but the investigation developed into a much wider enquiry looking into a web of gamblers linked to top level players.

    ATP President Chris Kermode tells the BBC he is aware there is match fixing within tennis but says it is at an 'incredibly small level'.

    The documents we have obtained show the enquiry found betting syndicates in Russia, Northern Italy and Sicily making hundreds of thousands of pounds betting on games investigators thought to be fixed. Three of these games were at Wimbledon.

    In a confidential report for the tennis authorities in 2008, the enquiry team said 28 players involved in these games should be investigated but the findings were never followed up. Tennis introduced a new anti-corruption code in 2009 but after taking legal advice were told previous corruption offences couldn't be pursued "as a result no new investigations into any of the players who were mentioned in the 2008 report were opened", a TIU spokesman said.

    In subsequent years there were repeated alerts sent to the TIU about a third of these players. None of them were disciplined by the TIU.

    A group of whistle blowers inside tennis, who wanted to remain anonymous, recently passed the documents on to the BBC and Buzzfeed News. We contacted Mark Phillips, one of the betting investigators in the 2007 enquiry who told the BBC they discovered there was repeated suspicious betting activity about a clear group.

    "There was a core of about 10 players that we believed were the most common perpetrators that were at the root of the problem."

    He has never spoken publicly before about the material he gathered which he said was as powerful as any he had seen in over 20 years as a betting investigator.

    "The evidence was really strong, there appeared to be a really good chance to nip it in the bud and get a strong deterrent out there to root out the main bad apples."

    The BBC and Buzzfeed were also passed on the names of other current players the TIU have repeatedly been warned about by betting organisations, sports integrity units and professional gamblers.

    Many of these players have been on the radar of the tennis authorities for involvement in suspicious matches going back to 2003.

    The BBC and Buzzfeed News have decided not to name the players because without access to their phone, bank and computer records it is not possible to determine if they may be been personally taking part in match fixing.

    However tennis's integrity unit does have the power to demand all this evidence from any professional tennis player.

    "There is an element of actually keeping things under wraps," said Benn Gunn.

    He is a former police chief constable who conducted a major review of betting in tennis which led to the creation of the Tennis Integrity Unit.

    It's the first time he has publically spoken about his concerns.

    In 2011 Daniel Koellerer was banned for life from professional tennis over alleged match fixing - he denied the claims.

    "If they were really serious about dealing with this then they really need to create an integrity unit with teeth."

    Last year the European Sports Security Association, which monitors betting for leading bookmakers, flagged up more than 50 suspicious matches to the TIU in 2015.

    The organisation declared that tennis attracts more suspicious gambling activity than other sport.

    Nigel Willerton, director of the TIU said while it welcomed the support of the betting industry "it is not the role of betting companies to make judgements about corrupt activity". He said "all credible information received by the TIU is analysed, assessed, and investigated by highly experienced former law-enforcement investigators."

    The problem of suspicious betting and match fixing is not going away. Eight of the players repeatedly flagged to the TIU over the last decade are due to play in the Australian Open which starts on Monday 18 January.

    Tennis match fixing: Evidence of suspected match fixing revealed - BBC Sport

  2. #2
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    harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Is there any sport that isn't tainted?

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    'ello 'ello 'ello Luigi's Avatar
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    Fishing.

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    Tennis match-fixing claims rock Australian Open

    A bombshell report alleging widespread match-fixing in tennis rocked the Australian Open as the season's first Grand Slam tournament began under a cloud on Monday.

    The BBC and BuzzFeed claimed 16 top-50 players in the past decade, including Grand Slam champions, had been repeatedly suspected of fixing matches for betting syndicates.

    Three suspect matches were at Wimbledon, and eight of the players under suspicion were due to take to the courts for the Australian Open in Melbourne, the report claimed.

    None of the "core group" of 16 players had faced sanctions, added the report, which was based on secret files leaked by a group of anonymous whistle-blowers.

    Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) chief Chris Kermode said the timing of the report was "disappointing" and rejected any suggestion that match-fixing had been covered up.

    "The Tennis Integrity Unit and the tennis authorities absolutely reject any suggestion that evidence of match-fixing has been suppressed for any reason or isn't being thoroughly investigated," Kermode told reporters.

    "And while the BBC and BuzzFeed reports mainly refer to events from about 10 years ago, we will investigate any new information, and we always do."

    - $50,000 bribes -

    The match-fixing report cast a shadow over the Australian Open, where 128 matches were scheduled on day one with defending champions Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams both in action.

    Players seemed unaware of any problem with match-fixing, with both Williams and Japan's Kei Nishikori saying they hadn't noticed anything untoward.

    "When I'm playing, I can only answer for me, I play very hard, and every player I play seems to play hard," said Williams after beating Camila Giorgi in the first round.

    "I think that... as an athlete, I do everything I can to be not only great, but, you know, historic. If that's (match-fixing) going on, I don't know about it."

    BuzzFeed said players were targeted in hotel rooms at major tournaments and offered $50,000 or more to fix matches for the betting syndicates.

    The leaked files included details of an investigation into a 2007 match which world number four Nikolay Davydenko lost to 87th-ranked Martin Vassallo Arguello. It found insufficient evidence of corrupt practice by either player.

    But the report said the probe uncovered syndicates in Russia and Italy making hundreds of thousands of dollars betting on matches investigators thought to be fixed.

    The key group of 16 suspect players had not been targeted in any crackdown, it said, questioning the effectiveness of the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), the sport's anti-corruption body.

    Kermode said the TIU had won 18 convictions including six life bans since it was set up in 2008, adding it "has to find evidence as opposed to information, suspicion, or hearsay".

    "Let me just say that all of us here in tennis are absolutely committed to stamp out any form of corrupt conduct in our sport," he said.

    "There is a zero-tolerance policy on this. We are not complacent. We are very vigilant on this."

    Other allegations included that a confidential report in 2008 recommended investigations into 28 players "but the findings were never followed up", according to the BBC.

    The sport introduced a new anti-corruption code in 2009 but after taking legal advice were told previous corruption offences could not be pursued retrospectively.

    Mark Phillips, one of the investigators in the 2007 probe, told the BBC: "There was a core of about 10 players that we believed were the most common perpetrators that were at the root of the problem."

    "The evidence was really strong, there appeared to be a really good chance to nip it in the bud and get a strong deterrent out there to root out the main bad apples."

    The report also said the European Sports Security Association, which monitors betting for bookmakers, flagged up more than 50 suspicious matches to the TIU last year.

    Tennis match-fixing claims rock Australian Open

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    Djokovic reveals match-fixing approach

    Melbourne (AFP) - World number one Novak Djokovic said he was approached to fix a match earlier in his career on Monday as allegations of corruption in tennis rocked the start of the Australian Open.

    The BBC and BuzzFeed claimed 16 players who had reached the top 50 in the past decade, including Grand Slam champions, had been repeatedly suspected of fixing matches for betting syndicates.

    The report prompted a swift denial from authorities that any evidence of match-fixing had been suppressed, as well as speculation over the identities of the players involved.

    Djokovic, after opening with a win over South Korea's Chung Hyeon, played down the report but he also said he was targeted in 2007 to throw a first-round match at St Petersburg.

    "I was not approached directly. I was approached through people that were working with me at that time," he told reporters in Melbourne.

    "Of course, we threw it away right away. It didn't even get to me, the guy that was trying to talk to me, didn't even get to me directly. There was nothing out of it.

    "Unfortunately in those times (there were) rumours, some talks, some people were going around. They were dealt with.

    "In the last six, seven years, I haven't heard anything similar. I personally was never approached directly, so I have nothing more to say about that."

    - 'A crime in sport' -

    Djokovic was reportedly offered $200,000 to throw the match, in an incident which gives an insight into the murky world of match-fixing -- which the Serb called "a crime in sport".

    "It (approach) made me feel terrible because I don't want to be anyhow linked to this kind of thing," he said.

    "Somebody may call it an opportunity. For me, that's an act of unsportsmanship, a crime in sport, honestly. I don't support it.

    "I think there is no room for it in any sport, especially in tennis.

    "I always have been taught and have been surrounded with people that had nurtured and respected the sport's values. That's the way I've grown up.

    "Fortunately for me, I didn't need to get directly involved in these particular situations."

    The 10-time Grand Slam champion added that it was "borderline" to have a betting company sponsoring this year's Australian Open, a move which has caused disquiet in some quarters.

    "It's a fine line. Honestly it's on a borderline, I would say," he said.

    "Whether you want to have betting companies involved in the big tournaments in our sport or not, it's hard to say what's right and what's wrong," he said.

    "One of the reasons why tennis is a popular and clean sport is because it has always valued its integrity."

    Djokovic added: "I know that there is also many betting companies that on the websites are using the names, the brands, images of tournaments and players and matches in order to profit from that.

    "Tennis hasn't been really getting the piece of that cake, if you know what I mean. It's hard to say. I don't have yet the stand and clear opinion about that."

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/djokovi...QDBHNlYwNzcg--

  7. #7
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Mann
    prompted a swift denial from authorities
    In that case all is well. Ask FIFA.

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