Authorities to review anti-corruption unit after match-fixing scandal

Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:59am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Tennis officials on Wednesday launched an independent review into their anti-corruption practices after allegations the sport's watchdog had not done enough to stamp out possible corruption in the game.

The announcement at the Australian Open came in the wake of media reports criticizing the Tennis Integrity unit (TIU) for not adequately investigating some 16 players repeatedly flagged over suspicions they had thrown matches in the past decade.

Recent corruption scandals involving the world governing bodies of soccer and athletics have thrown those sports into turmoil and tennis was not keen to follow them down that path, Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Chairman Chris Kermode said.

"We are in a toxic environment for sport at the moment, in terms of it's an easy target for people to have a go with recent allegations at other governing bodies," Kermode told reporters in Melbourne.

The review would address issues of transparency and resourcing at the TIU, structural or governance issues, and how to extend the scope of tennis' anti-corruption education programs.

Tennis authorities repeated they felt the allegations made in the report by the BBC and Buzzfeed News were historical, but could help the sport in the long run.

Tennis great Martina Navratilova, who won 51 grand slam titles, said she was skeptical about the match-fixing reports and wanted proof.

"The first report was a bunch of baloney, because there were no specifics," she told reporters at Melbourne Park.   Continued...

International Tennis Federation (ITF) President David Haggerty (L-R), Tennis Integrity Board Chairman Philip Brook and Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Chairman Chris Kermode hold a news conference at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 27, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Reed