Main Menu
Top of Page
  | Home   | Index   | Info   | This Week   | Poker   | News   | Email

Welcome to the News desk.

Racing's betting experts called in to help tennis probe 08/08/2007
Matt Scott

Investigations into possible corruption at the Poland Open tennis match between Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo Argüello will step up on Monday when ATP officials fly in to meet specialist betting investigators from the British Horseracing Authority (HRA).

The ATP immediately launched an investigation into last Thursday's match after being alerted to suspicions of irregular betting patterns by Betfair. The contact was made as a result of the memorandum of understanding the organisations have shared since 2003.

The ATP, which organises men's tour tennis tournaments outside the grand slam events, will now ask for advice from the HRA about how to conduct inquiries into possible corruption. "We can confirm that representatives of the ATP plan to meet with the HRA in the near future," said a spokesman for the Association of Tennis Professionals. "It is a body with experience in this area and we are keen to utilise that experience to help us with this investigation."

The specific expertise being sought is from the HRA's integrity unit - led by the former detective chief superintendent Paul Scotney - which houses betting experts with extensive experience of monitoring betting patterns. Such analysis of where the money was being placed led Betfair to contact the ATP.

There will also be dialogue about what the HRA's framework is for investigations. Under its anti-corruption procedures, the ATP will appoint an independent "hearing officer" to oversee investigations into the match. Despite being the top seed in the tournament, Davydenko, the world No4 at the time, was offered at 11-8 against before the match. Even after Davydenko won the first set 6-2, his 87th-ranked opponent Vassallo Argüello was the favourite on the Betfair exchange. Davydenko withdrew from the match after losing the second set 6-3 and while trailing 2-1 in the third. Betfair's website reported that $7.3m of bets had been matched.

It is felt by many outraged punters that minor tournaments, where prize money is low and few rankings points are available, are prime targets for the fixers. According to a Gambling Commission consultation paper whose deadline is tomorrow, sports bodies have proposed "a risk analysis that should be undertaken of each type of bet on each outcome in each sport". It is envisaged that this could lead to a statutory requirement for all bookmakers setting up markets on any tournaments to provide details of punters and bets to the authorities.