With the early stages of the Australian Open well underway the focus is not on the superb play from stars such as Novak Djokovic or Serena Williams, but on the allegations of match fixing over the past decade. These allegations have been brought to attention by the BBC who claim they have had access to documents proving that 16 players who have been seeded in the top 50 have participated in match fixing.
Just prior to the commencement of this year’s Australian Open, BuzzFeed News and the BBC claimed that despite repeated warnings the sport has not taken any action. Of the 16 players rumoured to have participated in match fixing, 8 are currently competing in the first Grand Slam of 2016.
In response to these claims of foul play, Chris Kermode, who heads the Association of Tennis Professionals, stated that there was no evidence that match-fixing had “been suppressed for any reason or isn’t being thoroughly investigated”. He did however provide assurance that he would ensure any new information on allegations would be thoroughly examined.
The BBC and BuzzFeed News claim that the documents that they possess demonstrate betting syndicates in Russia, Northern Italy and Sicily making hundreds of thousands of pounds betting on matches which investigators thought to be fixed. Three of these matches were at Wimbledon. The BBC and Buzzfeed News have taken the decision not to publicise the names of individual players as without access to their phone, bank and computer records, they cannot prove without doubt the participation of the players themselves.
These allegations have added to the growing debate over integrity in sport as a whole.
Listen in to The Topics tonight from 7pm for a debate on this and other stories.