LONDON, January 18 – British Prime Minister David Cameron wants allegations of widespread match-fixing in tennis investigated fully by the sport’s governing bodies, his spokesman said Monday.
The BBC and BuzzFeed reported that a “core group” of 16 players who reached the top 50 in the past decade, including Grand Slam title-winners, had repeatedly caused suspicion but never faced action.
The claims, citing a leaked cache of secret files, broke as the year’s first Grand Slam got underway in Melbourne.
BuzzFeed said players were targeted in hotel rooms at major tournaments and offered $50,000 (£35,200) or more to fix matches for the betting syndicates, with approaches made during major tournaments such as Wimbledon and the French Open, with the winners at Grand Slams among those involved in ‘throwing’ matches.
Cameron was a keen amateur tennis player when a student at Oxford University and his official spokesman said Monday: “It is deeply concerning that another sport is facing such serious allegations. As with the allegations we have seen in other sports like athletics and football, the people who suffer most are the fans.
“The Prime Minister would want to see these issues investigated by the independent authorities. The most important thing is that action is taken in response and the independent authorities get on with that.”
Meanwhile the men’s tour and the sport’s anti-corruption body, the Tennis Integrity Unit, firmly rejected suggestions that evidence was deliberately suppressed.
“The Tennis Integrity Unit and the tennis authorities absolutely reject any suggestion that evidence of match-fixing has been suppressed for any reason or isn’t being thoroughly investigated,” men’s tour chief Chris Kermode told reporters.
“And while the BBC and BuzzFeed reports mainly refer to events from about 10 years ago, we will investigate any new information, and we always do.”