On March 1, 2011, a federal judge upheld the gambling-related suspensions of five pro tennis players by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).
Among the five players, all of whom were Italian, was Potito Starace who was ranked 31stin the world and number one in Italy in 2007, the time of his original suspension. Starace had reportedly made just five bets totaling $130, yet he was suspended for six months and fined $30,000 for these infractions.
Professional tennis formed the Tennis Integrity Unit to investigate and combat gambling within the sport after fourth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko of Russia ignited a gambling scandal in early 2007 when he allegedly took a dive in a match against the 87th ranked Martin Vassallo Arguello.
Starace and the other four Italian tennis players originally sued the ATP in July 2009 alleging the ATP had hidden documents that proved other higher ranked tennis players were also guilty of gambling. Specifically they argued that they were targeted as low-ranked, less prominent professional tennis playersin order to avoid negatively impacting its [the ATPs] revenue and reputation.
In a November, 2010, New York Times article, Joe Drape interviewed the players attorney, Robert F. Elgidely, who alleged that the ATP went after these players because they were the low-hanging fruit that would not impact their bottom line. This maneuver was meant to show that tennis was cracking down on gambling while diverting attention away from the well-known players who were also gambling, some of which possessed gambling accounts in their own names, according to Elgidely.
Within the upheld lawsuit were documents deemed for professional eyes only. These now-confidential documents hold depositions from high-ranking ATP officials and the head of the Tennis Integrity Unit, Jeff Rees.
Rees had recently co-authored a report that highlighted suspicious activity in at least 45 matches during a five-year period. Titled Environmental Review of Integrity in Professional Tennis, Rees report found a number of threats to the integrity of tennis, including gambling offenses by players, inside information provided to gamblers by players, and game tanking.
The agen taruhan bola use of inside information for gambling purposes came to light due to the recent incident involving Ted Forstmann, chairman of IMG Worldwide, a leading sports agency. Forstmann acknowledged gambling on the 2007 French Open final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both of which were IMG clients.
Forstmann bet $40,000 on Federer supposedly after receiving information directly agen taruhan bola from Federer (Forstmann admits to making the bet, but disputes that Federer provided him with any information). Even if Federer had, Nadal won the event while Forstmann lost his bet. Once incident came to the ATPs attention, the governing body did nothing to Forstmann outside of a warning about his inappropriate behavior.
Interestingly, ESPN stepped up on the five Italian players behalfsort of. The network requested that the legal documents be unsealed as ESPN has over 500 hours worth of ATP matches scheduled in 2011. The network feels the disclosure is necessary for the publics good.
Meanwhile, the ATP has averted yet another gambling scandalfor now.
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