LONDON (AFP) – Lower-level tennis has a “tsunami”-like problem with match-fixing, according to a review panel set up to look into allegations of corruption in the sport which published its findings yesterday.
The Independent Review Panel (IRP) says there is a “very significant” corruption problem at “lower and middle levels of the sport”, and especially in the men’s game.
The panel was set up in January 2016 following allegations made by the BBC and Buzzfeed that leading players, including Grand Slam winners, were involved in suspected match-fixing and that evidence had been suppressed.
The panel – which spoke to over 100 players and according to the BBC cost $27.9 million to fund – found no evidence to support those allegations.
However, the highest level competitions and governing bodies did not escape criticism.
Investigation at Grand Slam events was deemed “insufficient” by the report, while other enquiries were “inappropriate or ineffective, resulting in missed opportunities”.
The ATP, the governing body of men’s professional tennis, were also found to be guilty of “failing to exhaust potential leads before ending investigations”.
The panel claimed tennis faces a “serious integrity problem”, particularly at the lower levels of the sport where players often struggle to break even, and especially on the men’s circuits.
The panel made several recommendations to tackle corruption because it believes the current system used by the TIU and international governing bodies is “inadequate to deal with the nature and extent of the problem now faced”.