It all started on the eve of 2016 Australian Open when the world of Tennis was stung by a highly critical report that highlighted the ongoing corruption in Tennis.
Although, a massive cover-up was made of this report, however sport’s officials had appointed an independent panel to sort out the issue.
The corruption case in 2016 did not get much media coverage. And the same happened to the report which was presented by the investigation panel in 2018 which took two years and $20 million to compile.
This is not a good sign and it may be a precursor for more of these events to go unnoticed.
When was the issue of match-fixing pointed out the first time?
The first time when this issue was pointed out was in 2005. Richard Ings who was the head of the ATP’s Anti-Doping Authority at that time, produced a report which highlighted the fact that Tennis was at “a crossroads of credibility”.
Furthermore, he had also pointed out the fact that silence and apathy about this issue are the main two reasons that will destroy this sport in the upcoming years.
Apparently, his warnings weren’t paid much attention and the results of corruption in this sport are in front of us.
How Tennis has led towards corruption since 2005?
Tournaments like the Australian Open signed betting companies as their sponsors. And, the agreement between the two was of a staggering amount of $70 million. Maybe, it was financially beneficial at that time however, it’s negative impacts have started to surface in the world of Tennis.
Right now, Tennis has become the 4th largest sport betting market worldwide. It has even left behind popular sports like football, horse-racing and cricket behind by a substantial margin.
The Solution & What the Investigation Panel has recommended?
The investigation panel has clearly highlighted the reasons that are gnawing the roots of credibility of this sport and have presented practical solutions to eliminate corruption from Tennis.
Some of the main recommendations are:
Eliminate the opportunities revolving around match-fixing in Tennis
The biggest recommendations by the panel to solve this problem is to ban the sale of live scoring data to betting operators. The reason behind this is quite simple.
As, before this data was freely available, betting operators were not able to offer in-play markets unless they entered into a data sales agreement with an individual Tennis tournament.
However, the situation has changed in favor of the betting operators as live scoring data has made it easier for betting operators to allow anyone to place wagers while the match is going on.
Eliminating this opportunity would have play a small role in lowering down the frequency of wagers and match-fixing in this sport.
Mandatory Training For Tennis Players
Educating the Tennis players about match-fixing is also a great solution that the panel has proposed in this report.
Not only that the administration, coaches and other staff members should also be fully trained to tackle a match-fixing situation and report back to the authorities.
However, this can become quite hypocritical in the sense that authorities expect players to uphold high ethical standards.
While on the other hand, they themselves are collaborating with alcohol, junk food and especially betting companies.
Encouragement of Legal Action and Prosecutions
The last main point that the panel proposed is that national authorities in Tennis should rely more on the use of the criminal justice system.
This is the most efficient solution that will help them to eliminate or lower match-fixing in this sport by a huge margin.
This can only be done if all Tennis federations sit together and enact new laws that will help in getting rid of corruption in this sport.
Can Tennis become free of the Match-fixing ocean that it is currently in?
As the famous proverb goes that “Rome was not built in a day”. Same goes for this sport as match-fixing is deeply rooted in this sport and eliminating it will take quite some time.
Patience and Sincerity will be the countering key factors that will determine the future of this sport and the corruption growing in it.
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