ESSA opens member consultation on Tennis’ IRP findings

European-wide sports integrity body ESSA has issued a statement, detailing that it will move to consult its industry members on the findings and recommendations of tennis’ Independent Review Panel (IRP).

This week, at a press conference in London, sports law QC Adam Lewis revealed the IRP’s two-year study into tennis integrity, in which the independent panel reviewed the sport’s match-fixing, corruption and betting-related issues.

In its study, the IRP has detailed significant concerns relating to professional tennis’ operating structure and the sports relationship with betting.

Lewis and the IRP have recommended a number of drastic measures to protect the middle and lower ranking levels of tennis from betting-related corruption.

Recommended provisions, which have been initially accepted by tennis four major governing bodies (the ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slam Board), include a drastic reduction of live-scoring data feeds made available to bookmakers.

Furthermore, the IRP recommends that tennis governing bodies reclassify the global qualifying criteria for professional tennis athletes (ie who can be deemed a tennis pro).  

In its quarterly ‘suspicious betting’ industry updates, ESSA has highlighted the number of betting alerts attached to tennis events, which have far outweighed other professional sports.

Updating industry stakeholders, ESSA governance detailed

“ESSA welcomes the publication of the Review Panel’s interim report and the extensive recommendations contained within it. These relate to multiple areas including the availability of betting on tennis events, betting sponsorship of those events and the sale of event data to betting operators.

ESSA will now begin to consider the detail of the interim report and to consult with our members, which represent many of the largest regulated betting operators, to determine how best to respond to the report’s initial findings and recommendations.

It is important to highlight that this is an interim report, which opens a further period of discussion and consultation. ESSA and its members have been working closely with the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) to address potential betting related match-fixing throughout this process and are committed to working with them to tackle corruption. This has delivered a number of positive investigative actions and sanctions and we will continue to work in partnership with the tennis authorities.”

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