Secret files exposing evidence of widespread suspected match-fixing at the top level of world tennis, including at Wimbledon, were revealed by the BBC and BuzzFeed News. Over the last decade, says BBC on its hompage, 16 players who have ranked in the top 50 have been repeatedly flagged to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) over suspicions they have thrown matches. All of the players, including winners of Grand Slam titles, were allowed to continue competing. The TIU- which was set up to police the sport – said it had a zero-tolerance approach to betting-related corruption.
Chris Kermode, who heads the Association of Tennis Professionals, rejected claims evidence of match-fixing had “been suppressed for any reason or isn’t being thoroughly investigated”. But he added: “While the BBC and BuzzFeed reports mainly refer to events from about 10 years ago, we will investigate any new information.”
The cache of documents passed to the BBC and Buzzfeed News include the findings of an investigation set up in 2007 by the Association of Tennis Professionals, the organisation Kermode heads. Its job was to look into suspicious betting activity after a game involving Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo Arguello. Both 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’.
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.