Italian Doubles Pair Suspended over Match-fixing
The Italian Tennis Federation (FIT) has suspended Daniele Bracciali and Potito Starace for 40 days while they continue to be investigated over match-fixing allegations. The FIT granted the request of the federal prosecutor’s office after a tribunal decided there was a “substantial probability of recognition of the responsibility of Bracciali and Starace for the facts alleged against them” as well as a risk of further illegal conduct. An FIT statement said: “The federal tribunal of the FIT, after examining the pleadings submitted by the parties, granted the request of the federal prosecutor’s office and suspended as a precautionary measure from any activity, with immediate effect, players Daniele Bracciali and Potito Starace.” The Italian pair are suspected of having fixed the results of matches as part of a betting scam. The allegations emerged as part of an investigation into match-fixing in football carried out by the prosecutor of Cremona.
Bracciali and Starace both served short suspensions in 2008 for betting on matches involving other players.
Starace, 33, is ranked 170th in the world but was a top-30 player at his peak while the 37-year-old Bracciali is a former top-50 player who now solely plays doubles.
There is a serious concern over match-fixing in tennis in general, particularly at the lower levels of the sport, security services company Sportradar claimed. The company are one of the key players in investigating match manipulating in the betting market and Alex Inglot, Sportradar’s head of communications, claimed tennis is one of the key problem areas when it comes to fixing professional sports matches. “There are serious concerns about tennis at various levels,” he said. I know a number of professional tennis players who say there are certain countries where you go to play tournaments and every single player will be approached (to fix a match). That doesn’t mean everyone is doing it but if everyone is being approached you can be pretty sure there will be those that do. You have to be in the top 120 or 130 players in the world of tennis to break even which means there could be 1,000 players on the tour who are making a loss. If that isn’t vulnerable I don’t know what is.”
Concerns have surfaced recently over a Challenger Tour match in Dallas between Denys Molchanov and Agustin Velotti, which showed clear irregular betting patterns. More than £600,000 (€803,000) was staked on the contest between Velotti and world number 174 Molchanov, a surprisingly high figure for a match of that standard. Velotti, according to the pre-match odds, was given a 48.3 per cent chance of victory, yet that had increased to over 80 per cent despite the fact he was a set down, before he went on to win the contest 2-1. Sportradar managing director strategy and integrity Andreas Kannich added that he feels the problem needs to be addressed further by getting sporting federations, the police forces, bookmakers and even Governments to be united in tackling the issue. “Currently there is not the status of trust between bookmakers, the police and sporting federations to deal with this matter,” he said. “We need to establish a working environment where investigations can be carried out. The Federations and the police forces have to share information and it’s crucial that the bookmakers are a part of this. Match-fixing is an international problem and we need communication based on facts.”
The best tennis predictions are often wrong when tipping lower level tennis matches, and one can start to see why right?