A year after charges of widespread match-fixing shook the tennis world, the sport’s authorities have announced that warnings about suspicious activity are up 20% and that the sport’s anti-corruption group increased its budget by a third and doubled the size of its staff.
As a result, the head of the expanded Tennis Integrity Unit said, “more players and officials were investigated, prosecuted and sanctioned than in any previous year since the TIU was established in 2008.” The announcement was part of the group’s first-ever annual report.
The unit has faced criticism over its lack of transparency since an investigation last January, by BuzzFeed News and the BBC, revealed that tennis authorities had for years failed to act on evidence of extensive match-fixing. An outside panel is now reviewing the sport’s handling of corruption cases. Adam Lewis, an expert in sports law, is leading the panel, which is expected to publish its preliminary findings this spring.
In Wednesday’s report, the TIU said that 152 of 292 alerts it received regarding suspicious matches involved ITF Futures Tournaments, the lowest level of men’s tennis. Only eight of the suspicious alerts referred to matches on the highest levels of professional tennis.
In front of the UK Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee in February, the TIU said that it had received alerts on 246 matches in 2015.