TIU bans French line judge for betting

| By Daniel O'Boyle
French line judge David Rocher has become the latest figure to be banned by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), receiving an 18 month ban and $5,000 fine for betting on tennis matches.
ITIA hands out 14-year match fixing ban

Rocher admitted to placing 11 bets on matches between January and October 2019, and was also found guilty of failure to cooperate with an investigation, despite contesting the charge. Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Ian Mill QC found Rocher guilty.

The line judge was found to have broken section D.1.a of the Tennis Anti-corruption Programme (TACP), which says “no Covered Person shall, directly or indirectly, wager on the outcome or any other aspect of any Event or any other tennis competition”.

He was also found to have broken section F.1.b, which says “F.2.b: “all Covered Persons must cooperate fully with investigations conducted by the TIU”.

Rocher will be banned for six months for the betting offences and 18 months – of which four will be suspended – for the failure to cooperate. However, as the bans can run concurrently, the total length of the ban is 18 months with four suspended, starting on 6 December 2020. Rocher may participate in tennis events sanctioned by the sport’s governing bodies such as the ATP, WTA and ITF from 6 February, 2022. He was also fined $5,000, of which $4,000 is suspended.

Rocher is the latest in a long list of those banned by the TIU in the last five weeks. First, two Bulgarian brothers, professional players Karen and Yuri Khachatryan, received lifetime and 10-year bans respectively after being convicted of five cases of match-fixing, nine cases of soliciting other players not to use best efforts and a repeated failure to cooperate with the TIU’s investigation.

Then on 20 November another Bulgarian player, Aleksandrina Naydenova, was found guilty of partaking in match-fixing activity multiple times between 2015 and 2019 and given a lifetime ban.

Last week (1 December), Spanish player Enrique López Pérez – who reached a career-high ATP singles world ranking of No. 154 in 2018 and doubles ranking of No. 135 – received an eight-year ban and a $25,000 fine after the Tennis Integrity Unit found him guilty of three separate match-fixing events in 2017.

Finally, the Unit announced this week it handed out a lifetime ban to Ukrainian player Stanislav Poplavskyy for match-fixing and “courtsiding” activities, while it also fined and banned Britain’s George Kennedy for a total of seven months.

The TIU is to rebrand as the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) on 1 January 2021. For that year it will be responsible for betting integrity enforcement in tennis in 2021, before adding anti-doping under its remit from 2022.

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