Secret files exposing evidence of widespread suspected match-fixing at the top level of world tennis, including at Wimbledon, have been revealed by the BBC and BuzzFeed News.
Over the last decade, 16 players who have ranked in the top 50 have been repeatedly flagged to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) over suspicions they have thrown matches.
All of the players, including winners of Grand Slam titles, were allowed to continue competing.
Chris Kermode, who heads the Association of Tennis Professionals, rejected claims of evidence of match-fixing had “been suppressed for any reason or isn’t being thoroughly investigated”.
But he added: “While the BBC and BuzzFeed reports mainly refer to events from about 10 years ago, we will investigate any new information.”
The cache of documents passed to the BBC and Buzzfeed News include the findings of an investigation set up in 2007 by the Association of Tennis Professionals, the organisation Kermode heads.
The documents obtained show the enquiry found betting syndicates in Russia, northern Italy and Sicily making hundreds of thousands of pounds betting on matches investigators thought to be fixed. Three of these matches were at Wimbledon.
In a confidential report for the tennis authorities in 2008, the enquiry team said 28 players involved in these matches should be investigated, but the findings were never followed up.
Tennis introduced a new anti-corruption code in 2009 but after taking legal advice were told previous corruption offences could not be pursued.
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic says match-fixing is not prevalent at the top level of tennis, as allegations of corruption overshadow the start of the Australian Open.
The world number one, who claims he rejected £110,000 to lose a match early in his career, says there is “no real proof” of fixing among the elite.
Source: BBC News