A number of investigators have alerted the BBC and BuzzFeed to incidents of match-fixing in the world of professional tennis, even at Wimbledon.
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To this extent, the BBC and BuzzFeed have been presented with a large number of files and other evidences pointing to match-fixing and corruption among top players.
Within the past 10 years, about 16 top tennis players ranking in the top 50 have been reported for match-fixing and placed under the radar of the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU). Incidentally, all of the players were allowed to continue playing in top competitions, including the Grand Slam.
Chris Kermode, chief of TIU does not agree with certain persons that the TIU had been suppressing evidences concerning these 16 accused players or failed to properly investigate their alleged misconduct.
"While the BBC and BuzzFeed reports mainly refer to events from about 10 years ago, we will investigate any new information," he said.
The trove of documents given to the BBC and BuzzFeed by investigators and whistle-blowers date back to investigations which the Association of Tennis Professionals, headed by Hermode, started in 2007.
A match played by Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo Arguello sparked the investigations when whistle-blowers said there were incidences of betting involved in the game. Both Davydenko and Arguello were absolved of any offences, but the investigations led to others in which top gamblers held sway.
It was soon revealed that there were betting syndicates in Sicily, northern Italy, and Russia among other countries, and millions of sums were betted for tennis matches – something investigators thought to be match-fixing. Funny enough, some of these matches were played at the Wimbledon.
A report also indicted 28 players in 2008, they were said to be involved in match-fixing among other sports offences. But the investigations did not proceed further after a legal advice in 2009 forced the TIU to abandon charges.
"As a result, no new investigations into any of the players who were mentioned in the 2008 report were opened," a TIU spokesman said.
There were subsequent infractions reported to the TIU but none of the accused players was punished in any way.
"There was a core of about 10 players who we believed were the most common perpetrators that were at the root of the problem," said Mark Phillips, a betting investigator who worked on the 2007 case.
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"The evidence was really strong," he added. "There appeared to be a really good chance to nip it in the bud and get a strong deterrent out there to root out the main bad apples."