ATP to bring in 48-hour rule

Tennis professionals are to be given 48 hours to tell the game’s authorities if they are approached to throw matches – and the players risk disciplinary action if they fail do so.

Tennis professionals are to be given 48 hours to tell the game’s authorities if they are approached to throw matches – and the players risk disciplinary action if they fail do so.

The ATP Tour are set to bring in new rules including the 48-hour deadline after a series of allegations about corrupt gambling practices and match-fixing.

Britain’s Andy Murray has claimed “all the players know it goes on”, and the ATP’s board are set to pass the new rules at their meeting on November 11.

The four main tennis bodies are also to set up an ’integrity unit’ to combat possible corruption and match-fixing in the sport.

An ATP spokesman told PA Sport: “It will become a sanctionable offence for a player not to provide information that helps the police and the authorities.

“If a player is approached they need to pass on that information within 48 hours.”

On Murray’s claims, the ATP spokesman added: “We have asked Andy Murray, through his agent, for a meeting as soon as possible to discuss the claims made public.

“Nothing is more important than the integrity of our sport and the ATP has shown that it will act where it has information which requires investigation.”

The four leading organisations in professional tennis – the ATP Tour, the Grand Slam Committee, the ITF and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour – have agreed to set up an international unit to fight against corruption in the sport.

Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe welcomed the announcements, saying a tough line on cheating was vital.

Sutcliffe said: “I’m pleased that the tennis authorities are to set up an international betting integrity unit.

“Match-fixing totally corrodes the integrity of sport so a hard line on cheats is vital. That’s why we recently introduced new rules in the UK to tackle the problem, including a potential two-year jail sentence for betting cheats.

“Catching cheats requires a proactive approach like this and close cooperation with bookmakers and the authorities. Maintaining the integrity of sport and betting is in everyone’s interest and I urge bookies to co-operate fully.”

Two months ago, all bets on a match in Poland between Russian Nikolay Davydenko and Argentinian player Martin Vassallo Arguello were suspended after suspicious betting patterns emerged. An ATP investigation is still going on but both players deny any wrongdoing.

Since then, other revelations have emerged from players who say they have been approached to throw matches.

Gilles Elseneer claimed he was offered €100,000 to lose his first-round match at Wimbledon in 2005 while fellow Belgian Dick Norman revealed he has been asked to provide in-depth information on other players’ fitness.

Former British Davis Cup player Arvind Parmar has also claimed he was offered money to lose a match at a low-key ATP Challenger event.

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