The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has found the player and coach Mauricio Astorga in breach of the organization’s guidance on sports integrity policies. Astorga has helped fix at least one game, benefiting from those by receiving remuneration to influence a particular aspect of the game(s).
ITIA Issues Three-year Ban to Player for Fixing Games
Astorga did not comment on the accusations and chose to let the governing body decide. ITIA reached a guilty verdict. He still has 20 days to appeal the verdict at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. If he fails to appeal his verdict, he will now be allowed to participate in any event backed by the governing body of any national association, for that matter, through October 2024.
ITIA has decided to impose a three-year suspension on the player from tennis. Astorga is also fined $1,500, a fairly negligible amount. The investigation was led by anti-corruption hearing officer Janie Soublière who established that Astorga had violated four individual rules linked to ITIA’s anti-corruption program.
His violations date back several years, with one of them relating to a case in 2015 when he was paid to fix a specific moment in a game. Astorga is also accused of having failed to report that he had been contacted by match-fixers which is also an offense as per ITIA’s policies.
Tennis Players Vulnerable to Match-Fixing
He was further found non-compliant with the investigation opened into his alleged violations at the time. Tennis has been one of the most heavily targeted sports by match-fixers. This has to do with the way remuneration in the sport is allocated. The Top 100 rank list is usually the players who make a comfortable living off the game.
Astorga’s best spot was 687 in 2013, and he has not inched up ever since. This puts a lot of pressure on tennis players to make a living, with many often holding additional jobs. Some 26,000 matches were investigated in 2016 because of fears that match-fixers are flooding the sport.
ITIA has been busy issuing penalties to various players. Previously, the organization suspended Algerian tennis player Hichem Yasri and Kazakhstani player Roman Khassanov for three and ten years, respectively.
Meanwhile, national tennis bodies have bolstered their integrity by hiring third-party experts such as Sportradar to guide and verify individual competitions’ genuineness.