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ITIA bans Kyrgyzstani tennis player for betting-related offences

| By Robert Fletcher
The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has banned Kyrgyzstani tennis player Ksenia Palkina for 16 years after she admitted to a series of betting-related offences.

Palkina, who had a career-high WTA singles ranking of 163, was founded guilty of breaching a number of rules of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme (TACP), with the offences having taken place in 2018 and 2019.

The suspension will be backdated to the start of her provisional suspension on 22 November 2019, though six years of the ban will be suspended. She was also fined a total of $100,000 (£79,789/€95,216), with $87,500 of this suspended.

The sanction means Palkina will be prohibited from playing in or attending any tennis event authorised or sanctioned by any international tennis governing body or national association for the length of her ban.

Providing she does not further break the Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme rules, Palkina will be able to resume a career in tennis on 21 November 2029. 

Specific breaches included Section D.1.b of the 2018 and 2019 TACP, which states that no covered person shall, directly or indirectly, solicit, facilitate, or conspire to assist any other person to bet on the outcome or other aspect of any event or other tennis competition.

This covers the display of live tennis betting odds on the individual’s website, writing articles for a tennis betting publication or website, conducting personal appearances for or taking part in any event run by a tennis betting operator, promoting this operator to the public, or appearing in advertisements to encourage betting on tennis.

The ITIA also referenced Section of D.1.d of the 2018 and 2019 TACP, whereby players shall not contrive the outcome, or any other aspect, of any tennis event, as well as Section D.1.e of the 2018 and 2019 TACP, which refers to a player not using their best efforts in a match.

Palkina was also found in breach of Section D.1.f of the 2018 and 2019 TACP, which states players must not agree to receive any money, benefit or consideration on the basis of not giving their best efforts in an event or negatively influencing another player’s efforts.

In addition, the ITIA cited Section D.2.a.i of the 2018 and 2019 TACP where in an event that a player is approached by any person who offers a benefit to influence the outcome or any other aspect of an event, this should be reported to the ITIA as soon as possible.

The ruling comes after it was announced last week that Jonny Gray will step down as chief executive of the ITIA later this year.

Gray was appointed to the position in 2019 to oversee the formation of the ITIA, which replaced the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) in January 2021, and as of January this year is also responsible for the administration of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme.

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