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ITIA bans three tennis players for match-fixing

| By Robert Fletcher
The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has issued bans to three professional players after ruling they took part in match-fixing activities.
ITIA tennis corruption

Kazakhstan’s Timur Khabibulin, Sanjar Fayziev of Uzbekistan and Igor Smilansky from Israel have all been banned for match-fixing. The ITIA says each player breached its Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme (TACP).

Khabibulin faces a lifetime ban from the sports and has also been ordered to pay a fine of $60,000 (£49,165/€56,434). The ITIA says Khabibulin, whose highest ATP doubles ranking was 154, had 21 match-fixing charges between 2014 and 2019.

Fayziev, whose highest ATP doubles ranking was also 154, has been banned for three years and six months. The ITIA says six months of this ban will be suspended. Fayziev committed five match-fixing offences in 2018 and will also pay a $15,000 fine.

Smilansky will serve a two-year ban and pay a $4,000 penalty, with $1,000 suspended. The Israeli was found liable for three match-fixing charges on one match in 2018. Smilansky’s highest ATP singles ranking was 451.

The sanctions will begin from the date of the players’ provisional suspensions on 25 July 2023. This means Fayziev will be banned until 24 July 2026 and Smilansky 24 July 2025.

Both Fayziev and Smilansky are prohibited from playing in, coaching at, or attending events authorised or sanctioned by ITIA members. These include the ATP, ITF, WTA, Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open.

Khabibulin’s lifetime ban means that he will never be allowed to play at a professional tennis event again.

ITIA clamps down on match-fixing in tennis

The trio become the latest tennis players to face sanctions from the ITIA for match-fixing.

In September, Sweden’s Dragos Nicolae Madaras was provisionally suspended for breaching anti-corruption rules. Madaras has a career-high ATP singles ranking of 191, achieved in 2022. He also has a career-high ATP double ranking of 481, which came in May last year.

Also in September, the ITIA provisionally suspended French player Maxence Broville for match-fixing. The ITIA says the suspension is in relation to Sections F.3.b.i.1 and F.3.b.i.4 of the TACP.  The latter section states there is a likelihood the player is guilty of a “major offence”.

In August, French tennis player Alexis Musialek was banned for life after he was found guilty of match-fixing offences. An investigation uncovered his involvement in fixing nine tennis matches between 2016 and 2018.

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