Two tennis players arrested in France in a new match-fixing affair

Originally from Central Asia, the two young women participated in the Clermont-Ferrand tournament. They are suspected of having manipulated a meeting, which took place in March in Gonesse, for the benefit of a network of punters.

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The small international tennis tournaments are the subject of many manipulations. Aaron Doster / USA TODAY Sports

The small Clermont-Ferrand women's tennis tournament received unusual visitors on September 23 and 24: police from the Central Racing and Games Service (SCCJ) arrested two participants suspected of having rigged a meeting of a tournament previous for remuneration.

They were to be presented to an investigating judge Thursday, September 26 as part of a judicial investigation for "corruption", learned The world at the Pontoise public prosecutor's office (Val-d'Oise).

The Uzbek player is suspected of having deliberately lost a game of this match on a double fault. This specific event was subject to unusual bets.

The two players, a Kyrgyz and a Uzbek, are perfect strangers to world tennis, although one has, at one time, attended the top 200 places in the world. They have been playing the ITF circuit for many years, mainly in Europe.

The facts referred to go back to March and concern only one match, during the tournament of Gonesse (Val-d'Oise), endowed with 15 000 dollars. The suspicious bets related to this match were filed on operators settled in Great Britain by a network from Eastern Europe.

The Uzbek player is suspected of having deliberately lost a game of this match on a double fault. This specific event was the subject of unusually large bets, which prompted British operators to alert the French police. In this manipulation, the Kyrgyz player, the most experienced of the duo, is suspected of acting as an intermediary between the punters and his colleague.

Instructions to players

This survey is separate from that conducted by the National Financial Office around a large network of match-fixing. Part of Belgium, it gave rise to a large net in French amateur tennis.

Read also Faked tennis matches: an open investigation in France

Twenty French players have been heard by the investigators of the SCCJ since the beginning of the year. Some of them confessed to manipulating their matches, for relatively small amounts … but similar to those given to the winner of the tournaments concerned. All have also described to the investigators this manipulation of matches as a banal practice.

In April 2018, an independent panel set up by the International Tennis Federation described "A tsunami" matches in small tournaments, where "Courtsiders" ("Men on the sidelines") slip among the few spectators in the stands. They are relays of bettors operating abroad – these tournaments are closed to betting in France – and can transmit instructions to players.

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