Major World Tennis Match-Fixing Scandal Brewing: So Here’s A New Mascot To Explain It All
In all the commotion over Sepp Blatter and FIFA soccer crimes and misdemeanors, I'll bet you forgot to notice that professional tennis is as corrupt as a 19th Century New York politician. Well, allegedly corrupt, because even though evidence of suspected pro tennis match fixing had been brought to the attention of tennis authorities as early as 2007, little was ever done.
According to reports by the BBC and Buzzfeed, files exposing evidence of widespread alleged match-fixing of world tennis, among them shenanigans on the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon itself, have been brought to light. BBC News:
Over the past decade, 16 players who have ranked in the top 50 have been repeatedly flagged to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) over suspicions they have thrown matches. All of the players, including winners of Grand Slam titles, were allowed to continue competing.
The TIU- which was set up to police the sport -- said it had a zero-tolerance approach to betting-related corruption. Chris Kermode, who heads the Association of Tennis Professionals, rejected claims evidence of match-fixing had "been suppressed for any reason or isn't being thoroughly investigated."
But an algorithm developed by Buzzfeed, and this is pretty amazing, was able to flag several instances of suspected fixed matches. The Buzzfeed model identified several matches in which the betting line moved suspiciously heavily toward a player to lose in the days leading up to a match, and in a majority of instances that player indeed lost.
Over the past decade, 16 top-50 players "have been repeatedly flagged to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU)" over suspicions that they have thrown matches. But all were allowed to keep playing.
The documents we have obtained show the inquiry found betting syndicates in Russia, northern Italy and Sicily making hundreds of thousands of pounds betting on matches investigators thought to be fixed. Three of these matches were at Wimbledon.
In a confidential report for the tennis authorities in 2008, the inquiry team said 28 players involved in these matches should be investigated, but the findings were never followed up.
Of all the big sports, tennis is the easiest to fix -- and it would be no surprise if the international game is corrupt. This story has just begun, and has the potential to blow up bigger than Sepp Batter and FIFA ever did. And unlike soccer and it's planet-full of fans, tennis doesn't have the widespread support to withstand and major scandal.
Enjoy the Australian Open, everyone!
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