An extraordinarily detailed dossier compiled by top bookmakers and delivered to top tennis authorities alleges dozens of matches since 2002 have been fixed by Russian and Eastern European crime organizations, including eight at Wimbledon (where play starts tomorrow). Four of those Wimbledon matches occurred in the men’s draw last year.
Tennis authorities (including the International Tennis Federation, the Women’s Tennis Association and the Grand Slam Committee) handed the dossier over to two former Scotland Yarders, who largely confirmed the suspicions of the bookmakers.
The dossier, used by bookmakers to prevent certain accounts from betting against certain players, clearly delineated patterns of betting in both volume and by player. The former police officers also spoke to multiple players that reported turning down cash to throw matches.
The ruling tennis bodies will try to tamp down the impending firestorm with drastic new regulations decided upon during meetings at Wimbledon this year:
- Huge fines and suspensions for fixing matches
- Restricting access to players at match sites
- Reporting all overtures to fix matches within 48 hours
Online betting has encouraged more cash placed on tennis matches; only soccer and horse racing receive more volume internationally.
We’re sure there’s nothing to these allegations and find the whole matter an overreaction to natural flux in players’ abilities on a given day and coincidental betting increases. Nothing to see here; move along.
(Can we have our cat back now, please?)