ITIA bans seven tennis players for participatin in match-fixing ring


The Belgian players were found to have been involved in a ring led by Grigor Sargsyan.

Belgium.- The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has banned seven Belgian players from the sport due to match-fixing offences. The players were found to have breached the rules of the ITIA Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme (TACP).

Arnaud Graisse, Arthur de Greef, Julien Dubail, Romain Barbosa, Maxime Authom, Omar Salman and Alec Witmeur agreed on sanctions with the ITIA after being convicted by a criminal court in Belgium. They were found to have been involved in a Belgian match-fixing syndicate led by Grigor Sargsyan, who has been sentenced to five years in prison. His match-fixing ring is said to have been in operation from 2018.

Three of the players, Witmeur, de Greef and Barbosa, have been suspended since May 2021. Witmeur admitted to six TACP breaches, while de Greef and Barbosa each admitted to nine. De Greef, who was ranked 113 in the ATP tennis singles ranking in 2017, has been banned for three years and nine months and has been fined $45,000. Barbosa has been suspended for five years and nine months and fined $45,000, $31,500 of which is suspended.

Witmeur received a ban of two years and seven months and a $30,000 fine. In all three cases, the period of suspension already served will count towards the total length of the bans imposed.

Meanwhile, Graisse has been banned for four years and 10 months and fined $60,00 ($42,000 suspended) for 12 breaches. Dubail (nine breaches) has been suspended for three years and nine months and fined $45,000 ($31,500). Salman and Authom were each found guilty of six breaches. Authom has been banned for three years and nine months and Salman for two years and seven months.

The Washington Post described Sargsyan’s syndicate as the biggest match-fixing ring in tennis, comprising more than 180 professional players in five continents. Proceedings against players outside of Belgium are still ongoing. 

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