Tennis Integrity Unit Briefing Note: July – September 2020
Senior legal counsel and head of communications recruited to support expanded work and remit of the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA)
Two senior management appointments have been confirmed by the TIU to support the expanded work and remit of the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA). In December, Ben Rutherford will join as Senior Director, Legal from World Rugby. During his eleven years with the organisation as Senior Legal Counsel and Integrity Unit Manager, he established and headed World Rugby’s integrity programme. His new role at the ITIA will see him build a team to take on greater in-house responsibility for the management of disciplinary cases through the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program. Rutherford is hugely experienced in sports law, with expertise across corruption, betting, anti-doping, governance, discipline and athlete education.
Adrian Bassett joined the TIU in September as Head of Communications. A former interim Head of Communications for the Lawn Tennis Association, he has also consulted with Archery GB, British Judo and the British Olympic Association. Other high profile sporting assignments have included the Laureus World Sports Awards, the Invictus Games and Six Day Cycling. Prior to that he spent five years as a Senior Press Officer with LOCOG at London 2012. In his new role Adrian will be responsible for all aspects of internal and external communications and will lead on communications around the organisation’s transition into the ITIA, effective from 1 January 2021.
Supervisory Board approves expansion of Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer panel
The Tennis Integrity Supervisory Board has approved the re-appointment and expansion of the independent panel of Anti-Corruption Hearing Officers (AHO) who adjudicate TIU disciplinary Hearings. The current panel of distinguished members comprising Prof Richard H. McLaren OC, Jane Mulcahy QC, Ian Mill QC and Charles Hollander QC has been reappointed and will be joined by three new members. Raj Parker, Matrix Chambers, London, Janie Soublière, Montréal, Canada and Amani Khalifa, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Dubai are highly regarded legal practitioners who will bring proven and relevant skills and independent expertise to the AHO role. Their appointments will provide greater diversity and a wider geographic base and anticipate an increasing disciplinary caseload from 2021.
Successful conclusion for TIU Education’s Return to Tennis campaign
More than 1,400 players, coaches, officials and tournament personnel took part in a series of Return to Tennis webinars organised and hosted by the TIU’s Education team. Participants received integrity guidance and advice to assist them both during the lockdown of professional tennis and since its return. In addition, all Tournament Directors across ITF, ATP and WTA events scheduled for August to October received direct contact and information for staff and access to integrity training.
Recent improvements to the TIU’s digital contact form have made it simpler to lodge confidential reports and enquiries through the TIU website and app. The service is supported by a 24-7 direct response from the TIU’s team of investigators.
Close working with the Egyptian Tennis Federation has resulted in the creation of an integrity Education Strategy for delivery in 2021. The co-operation is the first example of the Education team working directly with an ITF National Association to develop a bespoke education strategy.
Seven match alerts received since the resumption of professional tennis
In the six weeks between the resumption of professional tennis in mid-August and the end of September 2020, the TIU received a total of seven match alerts from regulated betting operators. Four of the alerts came from matches played on the ATP Challenger circuit; two from ITF Men’s World Tennis Tour $15k events and one from a Grand Slam tournament.
No alerts were received from the main ATP and WTA tours or the ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour. During the July to September quarter in 2019, 41 match alerts were received, but no valid comparison can be made in view of the severely restricted 2020 tournament and match schedule resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Disciplinary decisions – July to September 2020
Between July and September 2020 five individuals - three players, one umpire and one tournament director - were subject to disciplinary sanctions for breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program. Among them, Spanish player Gerard Joseph Platero Rodriguez became the first person to be sanctioned for the offence of ‘courtsiding’:
These sanctions have previously been announced by the TIU and are included here as a retrospective record.