Tennis match fixing: Secret files allege corruption

SECRET files which allegedly contain evidence of widespread match fixing at the top levels of world tennis have been revealed.

Dozens of top world players are suspected to have been involved in match fixing, with some reported to tennis officials over suspicions that they deliberately lost matches.

The files, released in an investigation conducted by the BBC and BuzzFeed News, allegedly show that gambling syndicates around the world made hundreds of thousands of pounds by betting on matches that were believed to have been fixed.

No names are named, but from a hardcore group of 16 players who were involved when the scourge was at its height in the latter part of the Noughties, some are still on the circuit.

It is alleged that more than half of them are in the starting field for the Australian Open, which begins tomorrow.

The findings of the investigation by both news organisations included:

* A US Open champion and doubles winners at Wimbledon were among a core group of 16 players who had repeatedly been reported for losing games when highly suspicious bets have been placed against them.

* One top-50 ranked player competing in the Australian Open is suspected of repeatedly fixing his first set.

* Players were being targeted in hotel rooms at major tournaments and offered US$50,000 ($73,100) or more per fix by corrupt gamblers.

* Gambling syndicates in Russia and Italy have made hundreds of thousands of pounds sterling placing highly suspicious bets on scores of matches - including at Wimbledon and the French Open.

* The names of more than 70 players appear on nine leaked lists of suspected fixers who have been flagged to world tennis authorities over the past decade without being sanctioned.

The evidence uncovered by the investigation included a bundle of leaked internal documents - the so-called 'Fixing Files' - and analysis of betting on 26,000 tennis matches.

- More to come.