BuzzFeed News and the BBC released a report yesterday stating that there are secret files that expose evidence of widespread match-fixing by players at the upper levels of world tennis. Authored by Heidi Blake, UK Investigations Editor, UK and John Templon, BuzzFeed News Reporter, the report coincides with the start of the Australian Open which began yesterday. In what has traditionally been known as the “gentlemen’s game,” it makes you wonder where’s the “love?”
The article in BuzzFeed.com starts with an eye-catching list that includes the following – “Betting worth billions. Elite players. Violent threats. Covert messages with Sicilian gamblers. And suspicious matches at Wimbledon. Leaked files expose match-fixing evidence that tennis authorities have kept secret for years.” Quite a list!”
The report says that the governing bodies of the sport have been repeatedly warned about a core group of 16 players – all of whom have ranked in the top 50 – but continues to say that none have faced any sanctions and more than half of them are playing in the Australian Open. It says that “compelling evidence about a network of players suspected of fixing matches at major tournaments including Wimbledon following a landmark investigation, but all of them have been allowed to continue playing.”
At a time when allegations of corruption in the highest ranks of international soccer have come to light, this report on tennis is just the latest. The report says that the following information can now be revealed:
* “Winners of singles and doubles titles at Grand Slam tournaments are among the core group of 16 players who have repeatedly been reported for losing games when highly suspicious bets have been placed against them.
* One top-50 player competing in the Australian Open is suspected of repeatedly fixing his first set.
* Players are being targeted in hotel rooms at major tournaments and offered $50,000 or more per fix by corrupt gamblers.
* Gambling syndicates in Russia and Italy have made hundreds of thousands of pounds placing highly suspicious bets on scores of matches – including at Wimbledon and the French Open.
* The names of more than 70 players appear on nine leaked lists of suspected fixers who have been flagged up to the tennis authorities over the past decade without being sanctioned.”
To read their very thorough report, go to: http://www.buzzfeed.com/heidiblake/the-tennis-racket#.jx3YJB6Nr
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