A match fixing allegation rocked day one at the Australian Open Monday in Melbourne. A report from the BBC/Buzzfeed suggested that the Tennis Integrity Unit was suppressing or dismissing past match fixing allegations and evidence.
“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,” the report said without revealing names, some of those are said to be Grand Slam champions.
The report also centered on the infamous Nikolay Davydenko-Martin Vassallo Arguello match from 2007 in Sopot.
Both guys were cleared, but this new report claims to have evidence of that illegal betting took place and the since-formed TIU did little about it.
With such allegations looming, ATP CEO Chris Kermode met the press, denying the report.
“The Tennis Integrity Unit and tennis authorities absolutely reject any evidence of match fixing has been suppressed for any reason or isn’t thoroughly being investigated,” Kermode said.
“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. In its investigations, the Tennis Integrity Unit has to find evidence as opposed to information, suspicion, or hearsay. This is the key here, that it requires evidence.
“A year-long investigation into the Sopot match in 2007 found insufficient evidence. As the BuzzFeed report states itself, the investigators hit a brick wall and it just wasn’t possible to determine who the guilty party was in relation to this match.”
BBC/Buzzfeed stated they have the names of the players, some of whom are playing at the Australian Open this week. It remains to be seen if they release the names.
“We have built an international reputation for the integrity of the tournament and the anti-corruption systems we have in place,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.
“In conjunction with world tennis we have developed leading anti-doping, disciplinary, anti-corruption and security policies. All involved in the administration of the Australian Open will not tolerate any deviations from our values and rules at any level.
“Of course the deliberate timing of this story is far from ideal for our event. But the important issue here is that we stamp out any form of corruption in tennis.”
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