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Tennis umpires banned over match-fixing

| By Robert Fletcher
The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has issued lengthy bans to three Tunisian chair umpires after they were found guilty of match-fixing charges.
ITIA tennis corruption

Majd Affi, a green badge chair umpire, was banned for 20 years after being found guilty of 12 charges relating to events between 2017 and 2020. 

Mohamed Ghassen Snene, also a green badge chair umpire, and Abderahim Gharsallah, a white badge chair umpire, were both banned for seven years after being found guilty of four charges relating to an event in Tunisia in 2020.

The ITIA said the charges related to the umpires manipulating scores inputted into their electronic scoring devices, which did not reflect the actual scores on court.

The sanctions mean the three individuals will not be able to officiate at any tennis event authorised or sanctioned by any international tennis governing body or national association for the length of their bans.

Specific breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme (TACP) included section D.1.b of the 2020 TACP, whereby no covered person shall, directly or indirectly, facilitate any other person to wager on the outcome or any other aspect of any event or any other tennis competition. 

The other breach that applied to all three cases was section D.1.d of the 2020 TACP, which states no covered person shall contrive the outcome, or any other aspect, of any event.

In addition, Affi was found guilty of breaching section D.2.c of the 2017 TACP, related to the failure of the reporting obligation by any covered person and a failure of duty regarding section F.2. 

Section F.2.b of the 2017 TACP, which Affi was also ruled to have breached, states covered personnel must cooperate fully with investigations, while they must not tamper with or destroy any evidence or other information related to any corruption offence.

Affi’s ban was backdated to the date of his provisional suspension and is effective from 6 November 2020 until 5 November 2040.

Snene’s ban was also backdated to his provisional suspension and will run from 6 November 2020 until 5 November 2027, as will Gharsallah’s seven-year ban.

The cases were heard by independent anti-corruption rearing officer Jane Mulcahy QC.

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