Tennis Integrity Unit reveals rise in unusual betting activity in Q1

 The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), the dedicated anti-corruption unit supported by the governing bodies of tennis, has revealed that a total of 48 alerts were generated in the first quarter of 2016 relating to unusual or suspicious betting activity in matches it monitors, up from 31 in the prior year year period.

The majority of the alerts concerned the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) Men’s Futures tournament, which accounted for half (24) of all alerts over the three-month period. A further 12 were generated on the Association of Tennis Professionals’ Men’s Challenger matches, while 10 concerned the ITF’s Women’s Futures matches.

Only one alert related to a Grand Slam match, and one a World Tennis Association Tour match.

While this represents a 55 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of alerts generated in the quarter, the TIU says that this should be seen in the context of the number of matches played around the world in the period. With 24,110 matches played over the three months, just 0.2 per cent generated an alert.

The TIU noted that the alerts were not an exact science, with different operators using different trigger points, meaning one company may issue an alert on a particular match while another may not.

It said that every alert was assessed and followed up, but added that an alert was not a definite indicator of match-fixing. There could be many reasons other than corrupt activity, it said, such as incorrect odds-setting; player fitness, fatigure and form; playing conditions and personal circumstances. However, the TIU said, if there was any indication of corrupt activity, it would conduct a full investigation.

Last year a total of 246 alerts were received and assessed.

The TIU also offered an update on three players sanctioned over the course of the quarter. Unranked Thai player Jatuporn Nalamphun was suspended for 18 months and fined $5,000 after admitting to betting on tennis matches. Nalamphun contested, but was found guilty of a further charge of failing to cooperate with a TIU investigation. Data provided through MoUs with ESSA and the Gibraltar licensing authority aided TIU in investigating the case.

Polish player Piotor Gadomski, meanwhile, is appealing against a seven-year suspension and $15,000 fine for breaches of the 2012 Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme, with a hearing held at the Court of Arbitration in Sport. In September last year he had been found guilty of four breaches of the Programme, involving matches at the F1, F2 and F3 Futures tournaments in 2012. A decision on his appeal is expected to be made in June.

Finally, former Australian player Nick Lindahl was fined AUD$1,000 and given a 12-month good behaviour bond by New South Wales magistrate Michelle Goodwin for match-fixing offences in April. The TIU has worked closely with Australian law enforcement agencies on the case since September 2013. Now the criminal investigation has been completed, the TIU can begin its investigation under the Anti-Corruption Programme and may impose further punishments.

The quarter also saw tennis’ governing bodies form an independent review panel to assess and report on the effectiveness of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme. It is being led by Adam Lewis QC, who has been joined by US litigator Beth Wilkinson and Marc Henzelin, partner in the Geneva-based law firm LALIVE.

The panel is expected to publish a report on the Programme after twelve months, with the tennis bodies already committed to acting and implementing its findings. 

The TIU has also expanded its resources and capabilities with the recruitment of a new data analyst and investigator. Nadia Tuominen joined as the new data analyst early in April, with an experienced investigator set to follow in May.


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