The Independent Review Panel (IRP) has published its final report into corruption in tennis and believes no live score data of the lowest-tier events is the best way to combat match-fixing.
Initially set up in 2016 to look into corruption, the IRP released its interim report in April this year and found that the sport is a “fertile breeding ground” for breaches of integrity while lower-level tennis has a “tsunami” of betting-related problems, mainly due to online gambling.
On Wednesday it released its final report and recommended that there should be no live score data or live streaming of tennis’ lowest-tier professional tournaments.
The International Tennis Federation currently has a live data deal with Sportradar and it was initially suggested a ban be put in place for events offering up to $25,000 in prize money.
However, the Swiss-based company argued against a blanket ban as it could open a black market and it was reduced to $15,000 events, which essentially falls forms part of the new “Transition Tour”.
The ITF’s contract with Sportradar runs until 2021 and the panel added that the organisation should not “enter into any new contract or extend the term of any current arrangements”, suggesting they should be compensated for the loss of vital future revenue.
“There is no simple solution or panacea to deal with the problem now faced,” the report said.
“Rather, what is required is a package of measures to tackle the underlying causes of the problem in the organisation of the sport; to address and limit the betting markets that ultimately drive, and give expression to, the problem; and to improve the systems for preventing and disrupting breaches of integrity, and for detecting and sanctioning them when they occur.”
The ATP, WTA, International Tennis Federation and the four Grand Slams, issued a joint statement, saying: “Having already confirmed our agreement in principle to the draft recommendations contained in the IRP’s Interim Report of April 2018, we will now work collectively to prioritise timely implementation of the panel’s final integrity and governance recommendations.”
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