LONDON. – The head of the Tennis Integrity Unit told a panel of British lawmakers on Wednesday that his under-fire organisation was doing all it could to weed out corruption from the sport.
Nigel Willerton found himself in front of the Culture, Media and Sport committee of the House of Commons where MPs, following the lead of an investigation by the BBC and BuzzFeed made public before the recent Australian Open, grilled him on tennis’s fight against cheats.
Tennis’s various governing bodies have set up an independent inquiry into its anti-corruption practices.
Willerton said the TIU had received 246 alerts of suspicious betting patterns surrounding matches in 2015, up from 91 in 2014.
Figures released by sports betting watchdog ESSA last week showed 73 percent of the alerts they issued in 2015 were for tennis.
However, Willerton insisted an alert is not of itself evidence of corruption and that the figures had to be seen against a backdrop of some 120 000 professional tennis matches in a year.
However, he said: “It’s far too many. We are concerned and that’s why we have gone for an independent review.”
This month saw the International Tennis Federation (ITF) announce that two umpires had been banned for corruption and four more were currently suspended while under investigation.
Unranked Thai player Jatuporn Nalamphun has been banned for 18 months and fined after being found guilty of offences under the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program. – AFP.