Russian, Italian gambling syndicates won millions of dollars by betting on games, which are suspected in match-fixing. The evidence of matches being fixed have been kept secret by tennis authorities for years, BuzzFeed News reported.
Tennis Betting Scandal
BuzzFeed alleges that the size of the betting could be worth billions and involved elite players and tournaments the level of Wimbledon. The media outlets obtained access to leaked files containing documental evidence. An analysis of betting on 26,000 matches, extensive interviews confirm the findings.
The tennis authorities and watchdogs have been repeatedly informed about the potential match-fixing among the group of 16 players within top 50 ranked sportsmen. However, no action has been taken against the suspected cheaters and they have continued playing.
Half of these players will start their performances in Australian Open, which starts today.
The history of research into match-fixing goes to the year 2008. However, the results of which were not disclosed and no sanctions have been taken against the players.
Mark Philips, an investigator from the team, stated that they have supplied authorities with sufficient evidence to take action, but none had followed.
After the mathematical analysis by the team it was revealed that chances of certain poor outcomes by players were 1 to 1000, leading investigators to the conclusion that matches were fixed.
Earlier we reported about the doping scandal in Russian athletics, which resulted in suspension of several athletes.
- Grand Slam tournament winners are among the group of tennis players that are suspected in being the centre of match-fixing.
- Losing the first set to collect betting wins seems to have been a typical tactic.
- The leaked documents contain names of over 70 players, who could be a part of the syndicates’ match-fixing agenda.
- 28 players were implicated in 2008 investigations, when no action was taken by the watchdogs.
- Italian and Russian gambling syndicates placed bets on 72 games by the 28 players in question.
The files have been forwarded to journalists by whistleblowers from the industry.
Over 29 gambling industry officials confirmed to investigating teams that there was suspicious activity in tennis looking like match-fixing.
Russian Player in Spotlight of The Gambling Fraud Investigation
One of the games that is in the spotlight is the match of Russian Nikolay Davydenko against Argentinian Martin Vassallo in Poland in August 2007.
The Orange Prokom Open ATP tournament’s game saw the Russian player winning the first two sets seemingly easily, after which there were several giant bets of hundreds of thousands of dollars placed against him on BetFair.
3.6 million pounds were on the table for this game, which is about 10 times more than usual for a match of this level. Most of the bets against the Russian player were coming from 9 accounts in Moscow.
The head of Betfair warned the vice president of the tennis association about this suspicious activity on betting markets. Just as a tournament supervisor summoned by the association arrived to monitor the game, it took 180-degree turn.
Suddenly the Russian player started complaining of pain in his ankle and requested multiple time-outs. During the final set Davydenko quit the game claiming injury.
The Betfair suspended payouts on the match and voided all the bets, stating the game wasn’t fair. The Russian gambling syndicate would have profited to the amount of over 350 thousand British pounds on this game alone, if the bets were not voided by Betfair.
The Russian player denied match-fixing.
Prior to the scandalous game in Poland betting professionals had repeatedly warned the tennis association of problems and potential match-fixing in the industry.
It is also accused that players would deliberately lose to another participant, with the promise of collecting the prize money, while the other party would be awarded the important ranking points.
Players were routinely offered sums as high as $50,000 just to lose the first set in a game, the media reports.
Investigations of the accounts that were linked to betting against the Russian player in the Polish tournament led to other potentially fixed games around the world. The game pattern was consistent for the games, where the player would be winning with a great certainty, only to lose at the end.
The full list of players’ names in connection with the scandal is due to be revealed later.
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