Integrity quite rightfully remains a key talking point for sports on a global basis, with the necessity for them to be seen as honest, genuine and clean coming with a plethora of benefits.
One such example is tennis, where the International Tennis Federation (ITF) recently agreed a fresh deal with Sportradar, designed to monitor betting patterns on in excess of 50,000 of its pro circuit matches.
Responsible for enforcing the zero tolerance policy on betting related corruption encapsulating the sport is the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), the body covering all professional tennis on a worldwide basis.
Speaking in its annual review David Haggerty, Tennis Integrity Board Chairman 2017, commented: “Fighting the scourge of betting-related corruption remains the single most important priority for the integrity of our sport”
Speaking of the work the TIU undertakes and enforces and the importance of Memorandums of Understand (MoUs) currently held with a variety of betting stakeholders, Mark Harrison, TIU Head of Communications, explained: “The TIU was established in 2008 by the governing bodies of tennis to deal with all aspects of betting-related corruption.
“That responsibility includes investigating and prosecuting breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program, educating players and officials and working with the sport to help prevent corruption taking place.
“The TIU works closely with betting regulators and numerous operators, including ESSA and its members. The ability to share confidential information through MoUs is fundamental in monitoring betting markets for unusual or suspicious activity.
“The TIU publishes anonymised match alert data received from operators on a quarterly basis. Every alert is recorded, assessed and followed up appropriately.”
With a global reputation on the line, Harrison goes on to discuss the difficulty in maintaining such a status, particularly with the sport often taking place in numerous places worldwide at once: “Tennis has a code of conduct for betting-related corruption that applies to all professional players, support staff and officials.
“The TIU administers a player education program, so athletes are made aware of their responsibilities and how to recognise, respond to and report any corrupt approaches or activity they become aware of. TIU officers attend numerous events in person but also work closely with the staff and officials who cover all tournaments around the world.”
Adding on the of education covering every level throughout tennis: “Education and training is essential to give players and officials a clear understanding of the issue. Tennis was the first sport to use online education techniques to reach players around the world.
“The module has been completed by more than 30,000 players, officials and tournament staff. Recognising the increasing importance of education, the TIU set up a three-person Education and Training team last year, responsible for developing and delivering an expanded program for the sport.”
“Tennis is an enormously popular global sport and it is vital that everyone who follows it has confidence in its integrity. The TIU believe that the vast majority of the 110,000 + professional matches played each year are free of corruption,” concluded Harrison.