.
.
.
.

Suspicious bets mostly around tennis in 2015, report says

The review will take at least a year to investigate allegations of corruption in tennis and the effectiveness of existing procedures

Published: Updated:

Tennis accounted for nearly three quarters of all the suspicious betting alerts issued last year, the European Sport Security Association (ESSA) said in a report published on Thursday.

The organization, established by regulated bookmakers to monitor suspicious betting patterns and guard against match fixing in sport, said 73 of the 100 events that raised concern involved tennis.

“The start of 2016 has seen a worldwide focus on alleged match-fixing in tennis,” wrote Chairman Mike O’Kane in an introduction.

“The data in our Q4 integrity report reflects previous quarters and, whilst tennis constituted the largest proportion of suspicious betting alerts identified by ESSA members, it should be noted that the vast majority of tennis events are fair,” he added.

Tennis governing bodies set up an independent review panel last month following media reports criticizing the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) for not adequately investigating some 16 players repeatedly flagged over suspicions they had thrown matches in the past decade.

The review will take at least a year to investigate allegations of corruption in tennis and the effectiveness of existing procedures.

“All information supplied by betting operators is analyzed by the TIU,” a TIU spokesman said in a statement.

“An alert can be an indicator of suspicious activity. But it is not proof or evidence that corruption has taken place.”

The spokesman added that factors that can influence results -- such as player fitness, fatigue, form, playing conditions and personal circumstances -- are analyzed and if there are concerns about “suspicious activity” the TIU will investigate the matter.

The ESSA report said that in the final quarter of 2015, there were 35 sporting events deemed to be suspicious with tennis accounting for 24 of them and soccer eight.