Tennis Judges Banned over Repeated Match-Fixing Incidents

The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) is becoming increasingly skilled at uncovering potential match-fixing in tennis. Its latest interaction has led to the expulsion of three Tunisian chair judges for dereliction of duty.

International Tennis Integrity Agency
International Tennis Integrity Agency
Inside the offices of the International Tennis Integrity Agency. The organization has banned three judges from Tunisia who manipulated match data for several years. (Image: ITIA)

The ITIA permanently kicked out a Portuguese umpire this past May for disgracing tennis. This is just one of many instances that the agency uncovered recently as it steps up its efforts to clean up the sport.

Overall, match-fixing in sports has seen a decline in its numbers. However, tennis and soccer continue to be among the top sports to experience a prevalence of criminal activity.

Tunisian Tennis Umps Fall

Majd Affi, a green badge chair judge (trained to referee at the highest levels within his country), has been suspended for 20 years. The ITIA found him guilty of twelve charges related to competitions contested between 2017 and 2020.

Mohamed Ghassen Snene, in the same category as Affi, and Abderahim Gharsallah received sanctions of seven years each. On four occasions, they reportedly manipulated the outcome of a tournament in Tunisia in 2020.

The referees reportedly entered data into their electronic scoring devices irregularly. As a result, the data did not reflect the actual score on the court.

The cases were assessed by independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer (AHO) Jane Mulcahy. The sanctions mean that the judges will no longer be able to officiate at any tennis event of any international tennis governing body or national association for the duration of their bans.

Affi’s career as a tennis judge is over. The ITIA backdated the ban to when the first instance occurred, and he wouldn’t be eligible for reinstatement until November 2040. The other two, for whom the agency also backdated the penalties, will be eligible beginning in November 2027.

Teenage Tennis Player Threatened by Bettors

Athletes sometimes have to deal with poor losers, which may be a factor in the decision of an inexperienced mind to throw a match. However, it’s important for them to rise above the pettiness of the inept and ignore their threats of retribution.

Dani Mérida, who was a quarterfinalist at Roland Garros Jr. in May and June, has been playing a lot of professional tournaments in recent weeks. The most recent was the M25 Getxo in Spain, his home country, where he reached the second round.

After falling into this phase with fellow Spaniard Carlos López Montagud, Mérida began receiving intimidating messages. The messages most likely from bettors who lost and who don’t know how to handle it with grace.

On his Twitter account, Mérida shared a screenshot of one of the messages, in Spanish, published with a caption that reads, “Things that have to endure with 17 years and the underworld of betting.” He also tagged the ATP and the ITF.

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