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ITIA welcomes six tennis prosecutions in Spain

The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has confirmed the identities of the six Spanish tennis players prosecuted as part of match-fixing and organised crime. 

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Following a five-year process, which required the collaboration of the ITIA, the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) and Spanish law enforcement, six ranked and unranked players were found guilty of “the most significant infiltrations of tennis by organised crime we have seen.” 

Marc Fornell Mestres, Jorge Marse Vidri, Carlos Ortega, Jaime Ortega, Marcos Torralbo and Pedro Bernabe Franco were all handed two-year suspended sentences and fines of €450 ($475). 

ITIA CEO Jonny Gray commented: “We welcome the involvement of law enforcement agencies and the prosecution of entire criminal networks, not just the players involved. This ruling sends a strong message that match-fixing is a crime that can see criminal convictions." 

Unfortunately for the guilty players, the punishments only worsened after the criminal proceedings, as the ITIA was now able to enforce its own sanctions. 

Mestres, who had a career-high ranking of 236, was handed a substantial fine of €250,000, of which €200,000 was suspended. Vidri, who reached 562 in the world, was fined €15,000, with €5,000 suspended. 

The remaining unranked players were handed total fines of €450,000, of which €390,000 was suspended. 

Furthermore, Mestres has been banned from all professional tennis activities, including playing, coaching or attending tournaments for 22 years and six months. All other players were handed 15-year bans, except for J. Ortega, who faces a seven-year absence. 

ITIA Chair Jennie Price said: “The conclusion of this long-term investigation is an important moment for tennis in its fight against corruption. While we take no pleasure in seeing six individuals receive criminal convictions and bans, the message is clear: match-fixing can lead to a jail sentence and can end your career in tennis.”

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