ITF bans tennis umpires over betting offences

The International Tennis Federation (ITF), the sport’s global governing body, has issued life bans to two officials from Uzbekistan for betting-related offences.

An investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) found that Sherzod Hasanov and Arkhip Molotyagin had used a mobile phone to communicate scores of matches they were officiating at “to a third party”, the ITF said in a statement.

The incident took place at an ITF Futures event in Israel last September, with the TIU also discovering that the pair delayed inputting scores into their PDA device at courtside to “allow the third party and/or other third parties to benefit by placing bets on matches at which they were officiating at the tournament”.

The duo were also ruled to have fraudulently manipulated scores by inputting fictitious deuce games in their PDA devices while officiating at other ITF Futures events over a period of seven months.

Hasanov is said to have “counselled or procured another official and/or officials”, including Molotyagin, to “participate in the fraudulent manipulation of the ‘live scoring’ system” at the start of 2015.

“Uzbekistan tennis officials Sherzod Hasanov and Arkhip Molotyagin have been banned for life and had their ITF officiating certification permanently revoked after being found guilty of offences under the Code of Conduct for Officials,” the ITF said.

Tennis is considered the sport most under threat from integrity-related issues, with ESSA singling it out in its recent report for the second quarter of this year.

ESSA said tennis was responsible for 34 of 41 reports of suspicious betting activity in the three-month period.

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