Following the Independent Review Panel’s report on match-fixing in tennis, Fred Lord, ICSS Director Anti-Corruption & Transparency Operations and Dale Sheehan, ICSS Director Capacity Building and Education have released the following statement:
“Whilst the Independent Review Panel’s report on match-fixing in tennis is shocking, its findings are, unfortunately, not a surprise. At the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS), we have for some time advocated a drastic re-think in the way sport handles its ongoing integrity problems, as well as a complete overhaul of its governance structures.
“Back in 2014, a research study by the ICSS and Sorbonne University identified tennis as the third most vulnerable international sport to betting-related fraud through match manipulation. According to the study, tennis was identified because it was attractive to concentrated international gambling and, at the time, the integrity and governance structure was viewed as extremely opaque and self-protective.
“Whilst tennis has taken steps to address this, it is one of many sporting associations that by self-policing are failing to adequately address the myriad challenges. Self-regulation simply does not work. It enables governing bodies to determine which situations to investigate, and control what is released to the public and sponsors.
“Independent oversight is vital to assure sponsors and fans that every effort is being made to ensure the integrity of sport and prevent it being brought into disrepute. At the ICSS, we firmly believe full compliance can only be achieved if those involved in sport work together to implement external reviews, audits and procedures.
“The IRP report also highlights the challenges of those that monitor and provide data, which may indicate match-fixing, also providing investigation services. Again, separation and independent oversight is critical.
“It is for these reasons that the ICSS’s Sport Integrity Unit set up a global, independent Sport Integrity Hotline in conjunction with WhistleBlower Security, to promote transparency in sport and ensure those that have reported serious allegations of corruption and wrongdoing will be provided with independent, impartial and professional service.
“Only when neutral organisations are empowered to investigate and regulate sport integrity and supported by a collective and concerted effort by governments can real progress be made and the integrity of sport safeguarded.”