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NEWS 24 February 2016

Tennis leaders summoned before UK Parliament committee over match-fixing

By Edward Obeng
Members of the UK Parliament will question key tennis officials at a hearing in Westminster, in a move to address the controversy of match-fixing that appears to be enveloping the sport.

Nigel Willerton, the director of integrity of the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), will be summoned alongside the head of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Chris Kermode, to testify in front of the committee.

News investigations from the BBC and BuzzFeed that were released last month alleged widespread match-fixing, including between 16 top players, over the last decade. A number of these players were repeatedly flagged to the TIU over fears their matches were being targeted by suspect gambling patterns, yet no players were ever investigated.

Amongst some of those players were Grand Slam title winners.

The decision to allow those athletes to compete is believed to be a joint agreement from the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the ATP, the Grand Slam Board and the Women's Tennis Association (WTA).

“The committee will explore how the governing bodies of tennis address match-fixing, and any weaknesses in the governance of the game, nationally and internationally," said a briefing on the UK Parliament's website.

Meanwhile, Kermode has announced that sporting QC Adam Lewis will now head TIU’s operations and resourcing. Speaking to the BBC, he said: "We need to be as open and transparent as possible.

“Having lists of suspicious betting patterns do not mean corruption, they are a red flag and that is not evidence.”

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