Two umpires banned, four investigated over corruption: ITF

Tue Feb 9, 2016 12:14pm EST
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Two tennis umpires were banned last year, one for life, for breaches of the sport's Code of Conduct for Officials, governing body the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on Tuesday.

Four other umpires are under investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), the London-based ITF said.

The sport is already reeling from revelations in a report by the BBC and BuzzFeed in January that 16 players who have been ranked in the top 50 had been repeatedly flagged to the TIU over concerns they had thrown matches.

Tennis authorities rejected allegations that evidence of match-fixing had been suppressed or had not been properly investigated over the past decade, although they recently announced an independent review of integrity in the sport.

The specter of match umpires possibly colluding with betting syndicates by manipulating live scoring data at low-ranking events, as alleged in Britain's Guardian newspaper on Tuesday, is a further blow to the sport's image.

The ITF said Kazakhstan's Kirill Parfenov was banned for life last February for contacting another official on Facebook in an attempt to manipulate the scoring of matches.

Croatian Denis Pitner was suspended in August for 12 months after sending information about a player to a coach during a tournament and regularly logging on to a betting account from which bets were placed on tennis matches.

In 2014 French tennis official Morgan Lamri was banned for multiple breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme.   Continued...