New Independent Review into Tennis Corruption - a complete shambles!
Posted on April 28 2018
Are We Surprised That Tennis Has an “Integrity” Problem?
This week has seen the publication of an independent review which has found that tennis is embroiled in a “tsunami” of match-fixing. The report, which took the best part of two years and £20 million to make suggests that while the top of the game is relatively free from corruption, the lower end of the game is “a fertile breeding ground for breaches of integrity.” I don’t think this finding will come as a great surprise to anyone in the tennis world. There is no reason for a top player to risk a lucrative career for a little match-fixing money on the side. But for those players in the lower echelons of tennis who are traveling the world to barely break even and keep their dreams of being a professional tennis player alive, it is a completely different story.
While it is easy to blame the players responsible for match-fixing, the governing bodies of tennis and the betting companies themselves must also take responsibility for what is going on. The sheer amount of matches available for betting and the scope of bets available clearly leave the sport wide open to manipulation. Tennis’ governing bodies must know this, and the betting companies must know this, but clearly, the risk is worth the reward for them.
At the time of writing, a quick scroll through the betting websites and you can find over 20 matches to bet on in Spain, Italy, Nigeria and all over the world. To take just one example, Y Hossam is currently playing J Lucas Magalhaes Huel de Menezes and you could put a bet on; match result, next game winner, current set score, next game correct score, deuce in next game, current set tiebreak, total games, to games odd/even and tiebreak in match.
To put the game in perspective, Youssef Hossam is ranked number 315 in the world and has earned, according to the ATP, $3,077 in prize money this year. As well as competing in Nigeria, Hossam has played in Denmark, Portugal, and Egypt this year. Once you take travel expenses out of that $3,077 prize money, Hassam has barely earned enough to house and feed himself, and this is the 315th best player in the world.
Youssef Hossam is just one example, and I’m sure he has no involvement in match-fixing, but there are hundreds and hundreds of players like Hossam and thousands of bets to be made. All it takes is one of these players to throw in a deuce game or allow a set to go to a tiebreaker and thousands of pounds can be won. At one point in the Hossam game, I could have got 5/2 on the next game going to deuce. A £1,000 wager wins £2,250, pay the player £500 for a few minutes of work and I walk away with £1,750 relatively risk-free.
I’m sure that betting companies have procedures to flag occurrences like this, but where there’s a will there’s a way and clearly, a “tsunami” of people are finding a way. Now that the report is out there, rather than breathing a sigh of relief that the top end of the sport has not been incriminated, the authorities need to take action to fix the problem.
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