In response to the final report published today by the Independent Review of Tennis Integrity, David Lampitt, Managing Director Group Operations at Sportradar, has commented below.
For context, the report is based on an analysis of betting-related and other integrity issues facing professional tennis, which claims there exists a serious integrity problem, for the reasons below:
- The game offers itself to manipulation for betting purposes because there are so many contingencies in it. It is difficult to detect this due to lower level matches having no spectators and no way of protecting players from corruption.
- Incentive for players is a reason for the breaches of integrity. Only 250 to 350 players earn enough to break even. Therefore, there is an imbalance between the prize money and competition fees, which may tempt people to contrive the matches for financial reward.
- Online betting and sales of official live scoring data have hugely contributed to the issue. The sale of data allows thousands of matches to be available for betting, which enables players and officials to bet/act corruptly more easily
The final report recommends to:
- Remove the opportunities and incentives for breaches of integrity
- Establish a newly-empowered TIU with independent supervisory boards
- Preventing breaches though educations, control of access and disruption
- Enforcing expanded integrity rules and punishing offenders
- National authorities to develop national and international regulation and enforcement.
David Lampitt, Managing Director Group Operations at Sportradar said, “We welcome the fact that the Panel has reversed their recommendation to discontinue sale of live data at the $25k level of the sport, however we believe that they could and should have gone further. “This is for two reasons:
- A targeted approach should be applied across the whole sport; we have been consistent in our view that the Panel invites new risks and problems by recommending a prohibitive approach, when it has not succeeded as an effective regulatory tool in relation to the betting industry anywhere in the world, nor in any other sport. Adjusting their arbitrary line (between targeted approach and blanket discontinuance) down a level doesn’t stand up to scrutiny; and
- This is because the measures don’t match the risks; the Panel’s approach remains disproportionate. They now accept a targeted approach as the most effective response for almost every level of tennis, including quite correctly those levels above the ITF that evidence the highest level of risk. It then makes no sense that they have doggedly maintained a solution that is more draconian, expensive, complex and unpredictable for the $15k tournament level that has lower risk.
“Our experience borne of more than a decade investing in the best programmes to fight integrity corruption in sport, is that a targeted approach, where the key stakeholders cooperate and invest into detection, prevention and education rather than prohibition is the most effective way forward for all levels.
“Now that the Panel’s work is finally complete, we look forward to working with our trusted partners and the wider tennis family to deliver the best solutions to protect the integrity of the sport.”