ITIA Bans Uzbeks Ismailov for Life, Sultanbekov for 5 Years

Investigations into professional tennis players for allegedly participating into match fixings continue to deliver severe punishments across the board with the latest sanctioned being two players from Uzbekistan.

Breaching TACP Rules

Temur Ismailov and Amal Sultanbekov received bans from the International Tennis Integrity Association (ITIA) after an investigation found them guilty of 3 breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP) rules related to a tournament in 2019.

Ismailov, who never climbed higher than 397th in the ATP during his career, was banned for life starting July 21, 2021, as this was not his first violation of the rules, already serving a 7-year ban for a previous breach. Besides the prohibition to play in or attend any tennis event authorized by the governing bodies of the sport, the player was dished with a $14,000 fine.

Amal Sultanbekov, whose top ATP ranking is 1886th, was sanctioned to serve a 5-year ban from any tennis event organized by tennis governing bodies and pay an $8,000 fine in the case ruled by Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Janie Soublière.

Ismailov and Sultanbekov were found in breach of Rule D.1.k, D.1.d, D.2.a.i, related to contriving or agreeing to contrive the outcome of an event, as well as the obligation to report incidents in which a player approaches another with a proposition to influence an event outcome. Ismailov was also found guilty of Rule D.1.e for soliciting another player not to use his or her best efforts in an event.

Match Fixing Not Eradicated Yet

Temur Ismailov and Amal Sultanbekov joined the list of players sanctioned for match-fixing, following in the footsteps of Carlos Andrés Sepúlveda Navarro punished in June and Roman Khassanov, who was penalized in May.

Colombian tennis player Navarro, who never climbed above 1579th in the ATP, was banned for 3 years, following his admission to multiple breaches of the TACP rules which took place between 2015 and 2020. He was also ordered to pay $10,000 fine with $8,000 suspended.

Kazakhstan pro Khassanov admitted to multiple breaches of the TACP rules and was banned for 10 years from participating, coaching, or attending any event organized by a tennis governing body. He was also fined $100,000 of which $75,000 was suspended.

Earlier in July, the independent body set up by the International Governing Bodies of Tennis to “promote, encourage, enhance and safeguard the integrity of professional tennis worldwide” said it was investigating possible match-fixing during some of the matches of the Wimbledon Championship.

ITIA revealed it received suspicious activity alerts for at least two matches of the tournament, according to German media related to a first-round match in the doubles and a singles match involving a German player. ITIA did not disclose any details regarding both occasions.

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