Anti match-fixing authorities in world tennis struck back this week, handing an Argentine player a life ban and arresting five people in Stockholm, Sweden. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Franco Feitt admits to nine rule breaches
In a tennis match-fixing double fault for perpetrators this week, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) hit Argentine player Franco Feitt with a lifetime ban, while Sweden’s National Operations Department (NOA) arrested five people in Stockholm.
lifetime ban from tennis for his role in multiple match-rigging activities
The ITIA confirmed Tuesday that a day prior, anti-corruption judge Raj Parker ruled to hand Feitt, 28, a lifetime ban from tennis for his role in multiple match-rigging activities between 2014 and 2018.
The Argentine player, whose highest Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) singles and doubles ranking was 920 and 437 respectively, admitted to nine breaches of rules set out in the 2018 Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP).
Section D.1.b of TACP demands that no player should “attempt to contrive the outcome” of an event. Feitt breached this section five times. Section D.1.e rules no player should “solicit or facilitate” any player to not perform at their best. Feist admitted to three breaches of this section. The Argentine also confessed to one breach of Section D.2.a.i, which demands that players report to the ITIA any approaches made to them by other people in relation to match-fixing.
The ITIA ruling permanently bars Feitt from “playing in or attending any tennis event authorized or sanctioned by the governing bodies of tennis.” He must also pay a fine of $25,000.
Five under arrest in Stockholm
Over in Stockholm, the NOA, which falls under the Swedish Police Authority, arrested five people on April 14 in a tennis match-fixing crackdown. The NOA also searched several residences during the raid. The alleged match-fixing is said to have involved “large sums of money”, according to a news release by the Swedish Police Authority.
match-fixing is said to have involved “large sums of money”
The Police authority, along with the Swedish Sports Confederation, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, regards match-fixing as a “significant threat” to sport.
The head of the NOA’s anti-corruption group, Stefan Erkensjö, said that the Swedish authority could see that “all sports risk being affected by match-fixing.” He added that the NOA counters the match-rigging problem through “preventive efforts and collaboration at several different levels.”
Tennis fights back against match-fixing
Following the arrests by the NOA in Sweden and the ITIA’s lifetime ban on Feitt, the game dubbed the sport of kings in its original form is fighting back against match-fixing.
Late last year, the ITIA (then known as the Tennis Integrity Unit, or TIU) fined the Khachatryan brothers from Bulgaria a collective total of $300,000 for tennis match-fixing. The ITIA banned one brother from tennis for life, and the other for ten years.
Exacerbated by the suspension of both men’s and women’s tours because of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, the ITIA received reports of 24 suspicious matches held between April and June of last year.
At the time, the sports integrity body warned in a statement that: “Suspicious betting on tennis during the lockdown is seen as a firm indicator that corruptors remain active, and are likely to increase their focus on the sport when professional tennis resumes in August.”