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Tennis umpires banned for match fixing

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Three chair umpires officiating ITF Futures tournaments in Thailand have this week received lifetime bans after an investigation found them to be guilty of match-fixing and various betting misdemeanours.

Umpires Anucha Tongplew, Apisit Promchai and Chitchai Srililai all admitted to betting unlawfully on tennis events at the aforementioned futures tournament held back in 2017, matches they were all officiating at the time. The three officials were also guilty of manipulating scores inserted into the official scoring system, all for betting purposes.

As well as their lifetime bans from the sport in terms of their former roles, they have also been banned from attending any professional tennis events indefinitely.

The investigation was conducted by the Tennis Integrity Unit, a body charged with unearthing any corruption within the sport at a time when professional sports players and officials have been particularly vulnerable to bribery given the strength of the current internet betting age.

Anti-corruption hearing officer Charles Hollander conducted the hearing into the three Thai umpires, his unit handing out the lifetime bans with immediate effect.  The TIU was developed by the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation, the ATP and the WTA.

Tennis, it seems, has been as open to illegal betting activity as other sports and it’s encouraging to see the governing bodies being as proactive as possible in stamping such dealings out.

Bans have been handed out within cricket too in a number of high profile cases, especially regarding ‘spot-fixing’ whereby a player wishes to manipulate just one element of the game, such as no-balls being bowled, rather than actually ‘fixing’ the overall result.

Nonetheless the authorities do not see such activities as any less serious than throwing a match entirely and so the bans given to tennis umpires this week are not surprising and frankly, well deserved.

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