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NEWS 19 July 2016

Tennis drives suspicious alert increase in ESSA’s Q2 report

By David Cook
ESSA has reported a year-on-year increase in suspicious betting alerts for the second quarter of 2016, rising from 23 to 41.

In keeping with previous reports published by the representative body for sports-betting operators, tennis clearly accounted for more alerts than any other sport, with 34 suspicious alerts.

Four suspicious alerts came from football, while the remaining three came from beach volleyball, handball and snooker.

In last year’s Q2 report, tennis accounted for 19 of the 23 suspicious alerts, while football accounted for the other four.

For 2015 in total, 73 out of 100 suspicious alerts were for tennis, ahead of second-placed football with 19 suspicious alerts.

This year’s Q2 report included an article from Mark Harrison, Head of Communications for the Tennis Integrity Unit, which stated: “The 48 alerts reported to the TIU in the first quarter of 2016 should be seen in the context of the 24,110 matches played around the world in that period. Alerts therefore represent a tiny percentage of 0.2% for all matches, and even then are only an indication – not proof – of suspicious activity.

“As a result of media allegations and critical reporting at the Australian Open in January this year, tennis set up an Independent Review Panel (IRP), led by Adam Lewis QC, to test the effectiveness of the sport’s existing anti-corruption practices and procedures.

“The full, thorough and comprehensive review is expected to take at least twelve months, with the publication of an interim report during that time.”

The reporting at the Australian Open that Harrison was referring to related to a joint investigation by BBC and BuzzFeed News, which identified 15 players that were alleged to have lost heavy-betting matches often between 2009 and 2015.

In February, the Guardian reported that a number of tennis umpires had either been secretly banned or suspended for taking bribes from betting syndicates and delaying the inputting of scores into Sportradar’s data system in order to manipulate the betting.
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