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