Match-fixing concerns return as former tennis player pleads guilty

Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:53am EST
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By Matt Siegel

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Allegations of corruption in world tennis were reignited on Monday when a former Australian professional tennis player pleaded guilty to match-fixing just hours after a top global bookmaker suspended betting on a suspicious match at the Australian Open.

The case against former 187-ranked player Nick Lindahl reached court after reports surfaced last week that tennis authorities had failed to deal with widespread match-fixing, marring the opening of the year's first Grand Slam tournament.

Lindahl pleaded guilty in a Sydney court to one charge related to match-fixing in a minor 2013 tournament but will contest a separate evidence-tampering charge on technical grounds. Two other charges were dropped by prosecutors after the guilty plea.

Prosecutor Kate Young told the court that in September 2013, when playing at the Toowoomba Futures Tournament, Lindahl offered to intentionally lose a match to a lower-ranked player and informed an associate so that he could wager against him.

A transcript of telephone calls intercepted by police after the match and read in court appeared to show Lindahl coaching an associate on how to hide evidence from investigators and admitting to doing the same himself.

"Just get rid of it ... just get rid of everything," Lindahl said in the transcript, which was read by Young.

Lindahl, who was arrested a year ago, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment on the charge to which he pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on April 15.

His lawyer, Troy Edwards, said the timing of the case coming to court amid a blaze of publicity about suspected match fixing and the Australian Open tournament was unfortunate.   Continued...

Former professional tennis player and coach Nick Lindahl (R) leaves an Australian court after pleading guilty to one charge related to tennis match-fixing, in Sydney, Australia, January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Paul Miller/AAP