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Suspicious tennis betting revelations – Key Points

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BBCSport
nvestigatory report published by BBC and BuzzFeed News on Sunday evening outlined allegations of suspicious betting activity on tennis matches. Here are the main findings from that article:
The investigation carried out by BuzzFeed News and BBC is based on leaked documents on top of an original analysis of betting activity related to 26,000 matches.

The data was collected for matches between 2009 and 2015 and the odds moved by more than 10 percentage points in around 11% of all matches. A total of 15 players were identified as having lost heavy-betting matches often and four of those lost almost all of these matches.

While the report mentions that tennis’ governing bodies have been warned on numerous occasions about 16 players that have ranked inside the top 50 and that winners of singles and doubles titles of Grand Slams are included in that 16, neither the ATP or WTA tours were specified with regards to the 16 players. However, it was reported that one top-50 player competing in this year’s Australian Open, which began today (Monday), is suspected of repeatedly fixing “his” first set. One player, who allegedly lost 15 of 16 matches where bookmakers revised the odds of the player winning downward by at least 10 percentage points, was identified as male. Another male was identified as having had his odds with one bookmaker cut from a 69% chance to 47% for a match in 2010 before losing in two sets. No names of players relating to the evidence were mentioned.

Investigators specified 28 players that were suspected of fixing as part of a 2008 investigation into suspicious betting. However, Nigel Willerton, director of integrity for the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), which was set up following the 2008 investigation, said no further action was taken, as a new integrity code could only be enforced for future events. Tennis authorities have been warned that a minimum of nine of the 28 players have continued to play in suspicious matches since the new code began being enforced.

Gambling syndicates in Russia and Italy have placed highly suspicious bets on scores of matches, which include being played at Wimbledon and the French Open, and have made hundreds of thousands of pounds doing so.

More than 70 players appear on lists of nine fixers that have been flagged up to tennis authorities over the past decade and have not been sanctioned.

More than 20 gambling industry officials told BuzzFeed News that world tennis is failing to confront a serious problem with match fixing.

BuzzFeed News made it clear that suspicious betting patterns are not proof of fixing.

ESSA, the integrity body which the investigation said alerted the TIU to 49 suspicious matches in the first three quarters of last year alone, said: “During 2015, whilst tennis constituted the largest proportion of suspicious betting alerts identified by ESSA members, it should be noted that the vast majority of tennis events are fair.”
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