Tennis hid umpire bans over betting syndicate links

Tennis hid umpire bans over betting syndicate links

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 Totally Gaming
Umpires are believed to have manipulated the Sportradar data feed

Tennis is again under the spotlight over match-fixing claims after it was revealed that two international umpires have been secretly banned, while four others face being thrown out of the sport for life on charges of serious corruption.

A report in the Guardian newspaper said that umpires from Kazakhstan, Turkey and Ukraine are among those alleged to have taken bribes from betting syndicates in exchange for manipulating live scores on the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) Futures Tour – which allowed crooked gamblers to place bets already knowing the outcome of the next point.

The Guardian revealed that Kirill Parfenov, an umpire from Kazakhstan, was decertified for life in February 2015 for contacting another official in an attempt to manipulate the scoring of matches, while Denis Pitner of Croatia was suspended for 12 months at the start of August 2015 for regularly logging on to a betting account from which bets were placed on tennis matches. It is suggested that bets were made on ‘next point’ markets before the umpire had updated the Sportradar data feed.

The tennis authorities never publicly released details, alerting only a small number of tournament directors and national tennis federations.

The ITF also never publicly acknowledged that four more officials are facing serious corruption charges, and only did so when prompted by the Guardian.

The story comes just weeks after a report by the BBC and Buzzfeed news agencies alleged that tennis’ authorities covered up cases of match-fixing among top players and at grand slam events.

Last year, sports integrity unit ESSA reported more cases of suspicious betting involving tennis than all other sports put together, with chairman Mike O’Kane questioning the leadership of sports that allow corruption to prosper.

O’Kane said. “It is my firm belief that corrupters will continue to prey on sports with poor governance and financial management structures, which is unfortunately widespread in the sector, and that this will continue to weaken the fight against fixers.”


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