Posted on: November 29, 2022, 03:22h.
Last updated on: November 29, 2022, 03:22h.
US tennis coaches Mardy Fish and Bob Bryan have been cited by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) for violating the sport’s independent governing body’s rules on promoting gambling.
Founded in 2021 by the International Governing Bodies of Tennis, the ITIA is tasked with safeguarding the integrity of the sport worldwide. The ITIA is funded by the sport’s seven major stakeholders — the International Tennis Foundation, ATP, WTA, Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open.
The ITIA is an updated version of the Tennis Integrity Unit, which was in place from 2008 through 2020. The vast expansion of legal sports betting in the US initiated calls for a broader-reaching international integrity division.
The ITIA requires that all players, umpires, and coaches refrain from “directly or indirectly” facilitating, encouraging, or promoting gambling on tennis. The ITIA says Fish and Bryan violated that condition earlier this year by promoting a sports betting advertisement on their social media pages.
Fish has long been a household name in the tennis world, but his popularity grew last year with the Netflix documentary, “Untold: Breaking Point.” The program chronicled his struggles with anxiety during his career and additionally focused on his friendship with Andy Roddick.
Fish, Bryan Acknowledge Fault
Fish and Bryan, who collectively head up the US Davis Cup team, said they unknowingly violated ITIA conditions by agreeing with DraftKings to promote a tennis advertisement on their Twitter pages.
Fish has more than 163,000 Twitter followers, while Bryan has nearly 140,000 Twitter followers.
Bob and I did a DraftKings promo during the US Open that we were unaware we weren’t allowed to do,” Fish told the Associated Press today. “As soon as we found out, I deleted the posts and cooperated with the ITIA.”
The ITIA says both Fish and Bryan have been issued a $10,000 fine and four-month bans from the sport. But the two will only be subjected to the ban and need to pay the fine should they encounter another violation during a four-month probationary period.
The probationary periods started on Nov. 11. The ITIA says both individuals fully cooperated with its investigations, but were deemed to have violated Section D.1.b of the 2022 Tennis Anti-Corruption Program.
The ITIA added that Fish and Bryan have additionally agreed to assist with ongoing education and prevention initiatives that highlight the importance of integrity in the game.
Tennis Prone to Match Fixing
When it comes to trying to fix a sporting event, tennis is attractive to such bad actors. Since a rogue enterprise only needs to win over one player, the sport has frequently been targeted by illicit bookies.
In February 2019, the BBC wrote in an article that tennis is a “sport riddled with corruption.” The expose titled, “Karim Hossam: The Rise and Fall of a Match-Fixing Tennis Prodigy,” detailed how the once budding star was lured into one of the largest match-fixing rings ever discovered in sport.
During his short-lived career on the ITF Futures circuit from 2013 through 2017, Hossam repeatedly threw matches for guaranteed cash payments from bookies. In 2018, Hossam was given a lifetime ban from professional tennis.
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