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Report Says Tennis Has 'Significant' Integrity Problems


FILE - A ball boy with new tennis balls during a Wimbledon match on July 4, 2017. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
Report Says Tennis Has “Significant” Integrity Problems
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A new report says the sport of tennis faces “very significant” problems with integrity.

The report said the problems, involving issues like fair play and honesty, are most notable at the lower levels of the sport. It said a major cause was a sharp increase in internet betting -- with some players winning money by losing to their opponents on purpose.

The Interim Report of the Independent Review of Integrity was released last week after a two-year independent investigation. It said that investigators had not found widespread corruption at the highest levels of tennis worldwide. But it did find that there is “evidence of some issues at these levels.”

The report offered suggestions for dealing with those issues. One idea is a proposal to study how tennis players are paid. Currently, payments are based on appearances in tennis events. The report also proposed a study of the current system for rating players. And it called for closer examination of the lower levels of tennis.

FILE - he Eiffel Tower is framed by the ITF flag and the Roland Garros stadium flag during the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Monday, May 29, 2017 in Paris. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
FILE - he Eiffel Tower is framed by the ITF flag and the Roland Garros stadium flag during the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Monday, May 29, 2017 in Paris. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

The Review was ordered by major bodies of the sport in 2016. They acted following a report by the British Broadcasting Company and BuzzFeed News. The report claimed that 16 of the world’s top 50 players were suspected of purposefully losing to other players.

The report said the “problems are greatest where prize money relative to costs,” likelihood of public interest and attention, and financial resources of tennis events are lowest.

It added that the launch of online gaming and the sale of official ‘live’ results of tennis matches have worsened the problem. Such results are published on the internet and social media as play continues.

The writers of the report added that there are no simple solutions. But they want “to address and limit the betting markets that ultimately drive…the problem.”

The report said many at the lowest level of tennis struggle to cover the costs of competing. This, the report said, made the idea of placing bets on matches more appealing to players. Many of them had knowledge of match-fixing.

A study of 3,200 players found that 16 percent said they knew players placing bets on matches, while 11 percent knew of inside information being provided.

Tennis’s governing organizations have promised to enact the report’s final findings after a period of discussion.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Neil Robinson reported this story for the Reuters news agency. Jonathan Evans adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

betting – n. the custom of risking money in a game or bet; gambling

significant – adj. major or important; having meaning

integrity – n. the quality of being honest and fair

interim – adj. used or accepted for a limited time; not permanent

resourcen. a supply of something; a thing that provides something useful

review – n. a study or investigation

onlineadj. of or involving computers or computer technology

address – v. to deal with; to communicate directly

ultimately adj. eventually

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