13 detained in tennis match fixing probe

13 people have been detained in raids that were part an investigation into suspected match-fixing in the lower ranks of professional tennis. The raids took place at various locations including Mechelen (Antwerp province, Vilvoorde (Flemish Brabant), Sint-Gillis, Ukkel, Laken, Jette, Schaarbeek, Sint-Agatha-Berchem (all Brussels) and Geraardsbergen (East Flanders).

A criminal organisation with ties to Belgium and Armenia has been bribing professional tennis players since 2014 to fix matches, letting the criminals to rake in profits by placing bets, the Judicial Authorities told journalists.

The fixed matches were usually in lower-ranked, rarely televised tournaments such as the Futures and Challenger circuits, where it was easier to bribe players, a Judicial Authorities spokesman added.

An independent report commissioned by the sport’s major bodies concluded in April that tennis faced “very significant” integrity problems caused by a sharp increase in internet betting.

The Interim Report of the Independent Review of Integrity said its two-year investigation had not revealed widespread corruption at the top of the professional game.

There was evidence of some issues at these levels, though the review panel’s chairman Adam Lewis said match fixing at the level of a Grand Slam tournament was “unlikely”.

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