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Undercover police called in to look out for suspicious betting 29/10/2007
Alasdair Sandford

French undercover police have been invited into this week's Masters Series event in Paris following recent suspicions over match-fixing in tennis.

Officers specialising in gambling from the Renseignements Généraux, the intelligence service of the French police, have been given full accreditation to roam incognito among the stands and corridors.

More used to investigating casinos or horse racing, they will be on the lookout for suspicious betting activity. "We have opened our doors to them as they will take a fresh look and are anxious to stop an activity they are less familiar with," said Jean-François Vilotte, director of the French tennis federation (FFT).

Former top players have been hired to cast their expert eyes on matches from the stands and report on any strange behaviour on the court. All singles matches will be filmed.

Cédric Pioline, co-director of the Paris Masters, said a player performing badly would not be enough to deduce that he was deliberately trying to throw a match.

"The guy might have a cold, have had a row with his wife or had light shining in his eyes when he served," said the former Wimbledon finalist. "To detect cheating, there must be a preliminary alert into suspicious cash movements."

The FFT has also joined forces with the international gaming association European Lotteries, which has undertaken to use its own surveillance system to keep the federation informed.

Online gambling is illegal in France, and those involved in the tournament have been warned they will have their accreditation withdrawn if they are caught placing a bet on the internet. The measures will be analysed with a view to repeating them at next year's French Open at Roland Garros.

The ATP has warned players they must report within 48 hours any approaches to throw matches. The British No1 Andy Murray believes some matches are being fixed.