Sports

Expert: Match-fixing rife at lower levels

Match-fixing is commonplace in tennis' lower levels and efforts to fight it are inadequate, a senior anti-corruption official said, after cheating claims rocked the sport during the Australian Open.

After an explosive report claimed match-fixing was repeatedly going unpunished, Chris Eaton of the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) criticised tennis' "opaque and secretive" anti-corruption body.

Eaton, director of integrity at the ICSS, said professional betting analysis showed "nil manipulation" of matches at the top levels of tennis, where players are highly paid and less susceptible to bribery.

"However, in the second and lower levels, manipulation indicators are heavy and regularly occurring," the former Fifa security chief said.

"We are not the only sport integrity organisation to observe this."

Eaton's comments follow the BBC and BuzzFeed report that said 16 players who had reached the top 50 over the past decade had repeatedly been suspected of fixing matches, but were never punished.

Three matches at Wimbledon had fallen under suspicion and at least eight of the "core group" of players on the fixing radar were at the Australian Open Grand Slam tournament, which began on Monday.

Tennis authorities rejected any suggestion that evidence was suppressed and defended the workings of the Tennis Integrity Unit, which was set up in 2008 and has landed 18 convictions, including six life bans.

- AFP.