Independent Review Panel Releases Interim Report on Integrity Issues Facing Professional Tennis

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WW+E Assists Panel Reviewing Allegations of Match-Fixing and Betting-Related Corruption

Washington, D.C. – An Independent Review Panel tasked with reviewing betting-related integrity issues facing professional tennis released its interim report and record of evidence and analysis, finding that “tennis faces a serious integrity problem” and that “no level of professional tennis is immune from betting-related and other breaches of integrity.” The interim report specifically notes that “the problem is particularly acute and pervasive at the lower levels.”

Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz Founding Partner Beth Wilkinson served on the three-person panel, which was appointed by the organizations responsible for governing professional tennis, including the ATP, the WTA, the ITF, and the Grand Slam Board. WW+E Founding Partner Sean Eskovitz provided substantial assistance during the course of the review. The independent panel was commissioned after a 2016 report from BuzzFeed and the BBC alleged “evidence of widespread match-fixing by players at the upper level of world tennis.”

The interim report’s findings include that “there is ample evidence that betting-related breaches of integrity have persisted and grown in professional tennis, particularly at the lower and middle levels of the men’s game.” The report also notes that professional tennis “lends itself to manipulation for betting purposes” and that the “player incentive structure creates a fertile breeding ground for breaches of integrity.”

The review panel recommends, among other things, limiting the sale of official live scoring data to reduce betting markets, restructuring player pathways to better align financial incentives, and creating a new supervisory board to provide independent oversight over the Tennis Integrity Unit.

As part of its review, the panel interviewed and collected written statements from over 200 key stakeholders in professional tennis and surveyed over 3,000 professional tennis players from around the world.  It also engaged experts to conduct an extensive review of betting data and other match-specific alerts concerning professional tennis events. The interim report, and the accompanying record of evidence, is being published for purposes of consultation, after which the panel’s final report will be published.

The governing bodies of tennis released a statement supporting the review panel’s findings and recommendations.