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ITIA bans four more tennis officials over corruption charges

| By Nick Brown
The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has handed lengthy bans to four officials after they were found guilty of a series of corruption offences.
ITIA tennis match fixing

Bans were issued to Edvinas Grigaitis, Givi Khudoiani and Arsen Movsisyan after being sanctioned by an independent anti-corruption hearing officer. The ITIA also said Manuel Sperger was also banned after being convicted of tennis match-fixing activity in an Austrian criminal court.

Breaking down the bans, Sperger an Austrian, a national-level official, will serve a seven-and-a-half-year ban. This is effective from 18 December 2023 until 17 June 2031. He will also pay a fine of $25,000 (£19,708/€22,860), with $18,750 suspended

Sperger was the subject of match-fixing-related proceedings in a criminal court in Austria. He admitted to manipulating scores in 2016 and 2017 for betting purposes.

The ITIA charged Sperger with 12 offences under its Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme (TACP). These included manipulating the entry of scoring data for betting purposes and facilitating wagering, with Sperger admitted to the offences.

Meanwhile, Grigaitis, Khudoiani and Movsisyan will also serve bans for corruption offences related to betting.

Lithuania’s Grigaitis, a national-level official, received a three-year suspension over four breaches of the TACP. Offences included delaying or manipulating the entry of scoring data for betting purposes and facilitating wagering.

Grigaitis was also charged with wagering on tennis matches they were not involved in. The suspension runs from 15 December 2023 to 14 December 2026.

Georgia’s Khudoiani and Armenia’s Movsisyan, also national-level officials, were found to have collaborated on a scheme to manipulate scoring data from matches in 2019 and 2020 for betting purposes. Khudoiani committed 15 TACP breaches and Movsisyan six.

As such, Khudoiani will serve a 14-year suspension and pay a $25,000 fine, while Movsisyan was banned for five years. Both officials have been provisionally suspended since 14 July 2021 when details of the case first came to light.

Time served since the provisional suspensions will be taken off their confirmed bans. This means Khudoiani’s will end on 13 July 2035 and Movsisyan’s ban 13 July 2026.

During their suspensions, the four officials are prohibited from officiating at or attending any tennis event authorised or sanctioned by the members of the ITIA.

Match-fixing syndicates

While the ITIA’s statement did not reference any connection, the latest string of bans follows a spate of lengthy bans made in November 2023.

The previous bans relate to a Belgian match-fixing syndicate led by Grigor Sargsyan. The recent criminal case led to the conviction of Sargsyan, who was handed a five-year custodial sentence.

This saw 16 players banned in November 2023, as reported by iGamingBusiness, first on the on the 13 November, then on the 17 November, and on the 24 November.

Described by the Washington Post as “the man who built the biggest match-fixing ring in tennis”, Sargsyan had traversed the globe since 2018 to build a network of more than 180 professional players across five continents.

in total, the ITIA has now banned 20 players and officials in the last three months.

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