Tennis match-fixing probe: 13 detained during Belgium raids


Thirteen people have been detained as part of a probe by Belgian authorities into allegations of match-fixing in lower-level professional tennis.

Belgian investigators and their Bulgarian, Dutch, French, German, Slovakian and US counterparts carried out simultaneous raids on Tuesday.

The “investigation showed that an Armenian-Belgian criminal organisation actively would have bribed professional tennis players from 2014 to the present day,” the AFP quotes the prosecutors as saying in a statement.

BBC reports that “Twenty-one properties in Belgium were searched, with 13 people held on suspicion of match-fixing, corruption, money laundering and participation in organised criminal activities”.

The matches in question are on the lower-level International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures Circuit and the ATP Challenger Tour.

“These tournaments are usually not filmed, which would make the players easier to corrupt and the organisers of fixed matches generate a lot of cash, making themselves guilty of match fixing, corruption, money laundering, participation in the activities of a criminal organisation,” the prosecutors said.

An independent report released in April found that tennis was a “fertile breeding ground” for breaches of integrity while lower-level tennis has a “tsunami” of betting-related problems, mainly due to online gambling.

The governing bodies of professional tennis (ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slam Board) admitted that there were “errors made and opportunities missed” in terms of getting rid of the problems, but promised to work with authorities.

The four organisations are yet to comment on the raids.