ESSA have reacted to the suspected match-fixing at the top level of world tennis by stating their intention to work closely with the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), and throwing their support behind the recently launched UK Sports Betting Integrity Action Plan.
Yesterday, secret files exposing evidence of widespread suspected match-fixing, including at Wimbledon were leaked online. In fact, over the last decade, 16 players ranked in the top 50 have been repeatedly flagged to the TIU over suspicions they have thrown matches.
ESSA, formerly the European Sports Security Association, released the following statement:
We are aware of the report and leaked evidence that suggests potential criminal elements and corrupt sportspeople have been seeking to manipulate tennis. Clearly such activity would be of great concern to the sport’s governing body and betting operators. During 2015, 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.
As the industry body that represents many of the major regulated gambling companies on sports betting integrity matters, ESSA has been passing on any suspicious betting alerts to the tennis integrity team and cooperating as appropriate in providing relevant evidence.
Anything that undermines the confidence and integrity of sport is not only damaging for sport itself but is potentially serious for the betting industry too. It is for this reason that ESSA continues to support tennis and any other sport in supporting the implementation of good governance and integrity regimes.
The ESSA Chairman, Mike O’Kane, stated that: “The issue of sports betting integrity is an important one and ESSA and its partner sports are committed to ensuring that sports participants and betting customers have confidence in the sport they enjoy.
“We will continue to liaise closely with the Tennis Integrity Unit and all other sports governing bodies who have any concerns with integrity. In addition, the recently launched UK Sports Betting Integrity Action Plan, which is fully supported by ESSA and its betting operator members, provides a guide to reducing the risk of sports betting integrity issues.”