ITIA hands down a lifetime ban to tennis official

ITIA hands down a lifetime ban to tennis official

ITIA hands down a lifetime ban to tennis official
The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has taken another enforcement action against a corrupt official, with the organization handing down a lifetime ban to Pavel Atanasov, a Bulgarian official who has breached the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP) on 21 counts. Atanasov contested the accusations levelled against him, but finally withdrew his objection and appeared before independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Richard Young, who established the tennis official’s guilt. As a result, Pavel has been handed down a $10,000 fine and a ban from professional sports or the right to serve in any official capacity. Richard considered Atanasov’s withdrawal from contesting the allegations against him as an admittance of guilt. A national-level Bulgarian tennis official, Atanasov is said to have committed the illicit activity over a period of several years between 2019 and 2023. He has assisted or engaged in multiple prohibited activities that have undermined the integrity and respectability of tennis, including but not limited to manipulating match data to influence betting outcomes as well as helping other parties who were wagering on official tennis matches. Atanasov is also found guilty of not flagging approaches by third parties seeking to perpetrate match-fixing offenses to the relevant authorities. As a national-level official, Pavel had some influence, and he has officiated at small but significant tournaments locally in his home country. Further to his ban from participating in a professional capacity in any ITIA member events, Atanasov has also been prohibited from attending those events. ITIA has been handing a multitude of fines over the past weeks and months, as tennis continues to be one of the most seriously affected sports when it comes to sports betting manipulation, according to the International Betting and Gaming Association. The agency recently issued a 7.5-year ban to another tennis official, Antonio Casa, who was similarly found guilty of having attempted to influence a game for the purposes of sports betting, as well as fix results. A Croatian tennis official was suspended just last month as well, with Marko Stojanovic guilty of 15 breaches of the TACP. ITIA has similarly gone after players that it considers having participated or breached TACP rules or undermined the integrity of the game in other ways. Several months ago, the agency went after four players who were issued fines and suspended for varying periods of time. Image credit: Unsplash.com

23 APR 2024

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