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Suspect betting patterns are linked to 45 tennis matches 20/5/2008
Matt Scott

A report into the integrity of tennis yesterday discovered that 45 matches over the past five years need investigation because of suspect betting patterns.

That it represents a tiny percentage of all matches played over the period caused the sport to claim the findings as a victory last night. However, the statistics relate only to information obtained through an agreement tennis holds with the world's biggest online betting exchange, Betfair, and the report's authors say the extent of the problem could be far wider.

"It is reasonable to assume that other suspect betting is taking place using other international legal and illegal betting markets," wrote the report's authors Jeff Rees and Ben Gunn who are both former senior UK policemen.

The Gunn-Rees report - commissioned after the Guardian revealed that Betfair had voided all bets on a match at the Poland Open last August between Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo Argüello - noted the difficulties tennis has in uncovering corrupt practices among its own players. Both Davydenko and Arguello deny any wrongdoing. A confidential telephone line provides players with the opportunity to turn informant against cheats but many have reservations about using it.

The report states that tennis is "potentially at a crossroads" adding that the intelligence available "indicates that there is sufficient cause for concern about the integrity of some players and those outside tennis who seek to corrupt them".

The review has outlined 15 recommendations, which the sport's governing bodies will implement in due course. Chief among the recommendations was the need to establish a new uniform anti-corruption programme.
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