Undercover police called in to look out for suspicious
French undercover police have been invited into
this week's Masters Series event in Paris following recent suspicions over
match-fixing in tennis.
in gambling from the Renseignements Généraux, the intelligence
service of the French police, have been given full accreditation to roam
incognito among the stands and corridors.
More used to investigating
casinos or horse racing, they will be on the lookout for suspicious betting
activity. "We have opened our doors to them as they will take a fresh look and
are anxious to stop an activity they are less familiar with," said
Jean-François Vilotte, director of the French tennis federation (FFT).
Former top players have been
hired to cast their expert eyes on matches from the stands and report on any
strange behaviour on the court. All singles matches will be
Cédric Pioline, co-director of the Paris Masters, said a
player performing badly would not be enough to deduce that he was deliberately
trying to throw a match.
"The guy might have a cold, have had a row
with his wife or had light shining in his eyes when he served," said the former
Wimbledon finalist. "To detect cheating, there must be a preliminary alert into
suspicious cash movements."
The FFT has also joined forces with the
international gaming association European Lotteries, which has undertaken to
use its own surveillance system to keep the federation informed.
gambling is illegal in France, and those involved in the tournament have been
warned they will have their accreditation withdrawn if they are caught placing
a bet on the internet. The measures will be analysed with a view to repeating
them at next year's French Open at Roland Garros.
The ATP has warned
players they must report within 48 hours any approaches to throw matches. The
British No1 Andy Murray believes some matches are being fixed.