Probe to start on tennis match-fixing claims
A BRITISH sports law expert will head an independent review into tennis's anti-corruption unit after allegations it had failed to investigate alleged match-fixing.
Major stakeholders from across the globe presented a united front on day 10 of the Australian Open, ATP president Chris Kermode saying the sole aim of the investigation was "to restore public confidence in the sport".
Adrian Lewis QC, a highly credentialled barrister who is also chairman of the UK athletics tribunal and the rugby football union appeal board, as well as a consultant to EPL club Arsenal, will head a three-person panel which will "review and report on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the tennis anti-corruption program".
Kermode said the panel would be able to "talk to anyone, investigate anything, take as long as is needed and not be restricted by cost".
He also said the results would be made public and every recommendation would be acted on.
He also said he had seen the list of past and present players alleged to have been involved in match-fixing, adding: "It's important to point out that having lists which are mainly compiled by suspicious betting patterns ... do not mean corruption.
"They are a red flag and they are investigated," Kermode said.
"Personally, I think it's irresponsible for anyone to publish names, verging on libel, and we believe any player, until they are proven guilty, should be allowed to play and shouldn't have their reputation damaged at all.
"So as I said, the lists purely come from irregular betting patterns."
Last weekend, online bookmaker Pinnacle Sports suspended betting markets on an Australian Open mixed doubles match between Spanish pair David Marrero and Lara Arruabarrena, and Polish player Lukasz Kubot and Czech Andrea Hlavackova.
A host of other bookmakers also cancelled their betting markets on the match, according to historical betting data available online.
Pinnacle Sports spokesman Marco Blume told The New York Times that unusually large sums of money were wagered on Kubot and Hlavackova, who won in straight sets.
The Victorian police were alerted to the matter, and the Tennis Integrity Unit is now investigating the match.
Most leading players at the Australian Open have been asked about the match-fixing allegations, with world No.1 Novak Djokovic saying he "felt terrible" about being approached to fix a tennis match in 2006 when he was a teenager.
He stressed he had never spoken to the fixer.
Just-retired Australian star Lleyton Hewitt was also linked to the fixing scandal on a blog, something he described as "absurd" and "a farce".