Tennis Integrity Unit strongly refutes Italian prosecutor claims


The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) has strongly refuted claims by an Italian prosecutor that the organisation has "no real initiative" to investigate evidence of match-fixing.

Two Italians formerly in the world's top 50, Potito Starace and Daniele Bracciali, have been charged in Cremona as part of an inquiry into suspected match-fixing. Both deny charges of conspiracy to commit sports fraud.

Prosecutor Roberto di Martino told the BBC and BuzzFeed that the names of more than 24 non-Italian players are mentioned by gamblers in internet chat logs and recordings of phone calls that his inquiry has obtained.

He claimed "It would be possible to identify, possibly hit, many foreign players who definitely are part of this system" and said the players in question "would certainly have been at least questioned" if they were Italian.

But the TIU reacted on Tuesday by saying it is leaving no stone unturned in investigating allegations of corruption. 

"The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), supported by the governing bodies of tennis, strongly refutes any suggestion made by the Public Prosecutor in Cremona, Italy, that evidence of match-fixing in tennis has been ignored by the TIU," read a statement.

"The TIU had been endeavouring to obtain the evidence required to substantiate allegations made against Italian players Daniele Bracciali and Potito Starace from the Prosecutor's office since October 2014.

"The TIU had to engage legal counsel in Italy to obtain the information contained in Mr Di Martino's investigation and is now listed as an Injured Party in the ongoing criminal proceedings.

"All information received from the Public Prosecutor is being fully and thoroughly assessed, verified and, where appropriate, investigated under the powers of the Tennis Anti- Corruption Program.

"It is a matter of public record that Mr Bracciali and Mr Starace are currently facing criminal proceedings in Italy. The TIU has interviewed both players and, as the case is sub judice, is not in a position to make any further comment on that matter.

"We have in the past requested, and repeat today, that if BuzzFeed and the BBC believe they have hard evidence of corruption, they make it immediately available. Tennis welcomes all and any new evidence that can assist the TIU in its work.

"Tennis has a long-standing and total commitment to preventing betting-related corruption in the sport.

"In January, an Independent Review Panel (IRP) was announced under the leadership of Adam Lewis QC, to investigate thoroughly allegations of corruption and the effectiveness of the sport's existing anti-corruption practices and protocols.

"The IRP has a wide-ranging remit to investigate all allegations of corrupt practice, including those that pre-date the formation of the TIU. The governing bodies have unanimously committed to accept, act on and fund all recommendations of the IRP."