Tennis Match Fixing Evidence Widely Ignored Claim Investigators

Written by:
Alistair Prescott
Published on:
Tennis Match Fixing Evidence Widely Ignored Claim Investigators

Investigators placed in charge of looking into suspicious betting patterns on professional tennis matches claim strong evidence they discovered was widely ignored according to a BBC and BuzzFeed report.

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A nine-month inquiry beginning in 2007 was presented to the Association of Tennis Professionals.  One of the investigators, Mark Phillips, told the BBC "The evidence was very strong, as strong as we had seen really. It was as conclusive as you can get."

Some 28 players with ties to the suspected match fixing were not looked into further by the Association.  Instead it opted to focus on a group of about 10 competitors.

Phillips said he and the other two investigators continued to alert the ATP's new Tennis Integrity Unit about suspect matches, but he didn't see any disciplinary action against anyone.

'They didn't really want our advice'

"It soon became clear they didn't really want our advice on that or anything else," Phillips told the BBC.

Phillips wasn't alone in his criticism of the tennis body.

A former senior British police officer told BuzzFeed News that he wrote in a document to the ATP with evidence supporting a call for more inquiry.

"There was more concern over protecting the image of the integrity of their sport than doing their dirty washing in public," Officer Albert Kirby told BuzzFeed.

Kirby made reference to an investigation into match fixing between then world No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo Arguello, neither of whom have been formally charged with any wrongdoing despite overwhelming evidence of suspicious betting patterns.

The news comes at a time in which tennis authorities have gone on the offensive during this week’s Australian Open insisting they are doing whatever it takes to stamp out match fixing.  Yet players such as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic say authorities could be doing more to combat the problem. The players suggest they have known the issue existed but they doubt any top players have been involved.

For the first time at Melbourne Park, electronic advertising boards at Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena and Hisense Arena display the name “William Hill” during breaks in play.

“I’m not really pro that,” Murray, a four-time finalist in Melbourne said Tuesday, after advancing to the second round.

- Alistair Prescott, Gambling911.com

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