The Tennis Integrity Supervisory Board will promote the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) in charge of the sport’s anti-doping program starting on January 1, 2022. The move reflects on ITIA’s long-standing experience with tackling match-fixing and corruption in tennis, and the new responsibility will reinforce ITIA’s area of expertise.
Effectively, the board is transferring this responsibility from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to ITIA, which will now deal with the Tennis Anti-Doping Program in a bid to continue and keep sports free of corruption. Commenting on this decision, chair of the board Jennie Price said:
“Having one fully integrated organization working on both anti-doping and anti-corruption creates a major opportunity for the sport. Shared intelligence and shared resources will make us more efficient, and most importantly, more effective.”Tennis Integrity Supervisory Board chair Jennie Price
A Move Long in the Coming
ITIA will not slow down its efforts in keeping sports clean, whether this concerns match-fixing or doping. In fact, the move was planned all throughout 2021, meaning that ITIA will be stepping in fully prepared in its new position.
ITIA is tapping its senior director for anti-doping Nicole Sapstead who will now be head of the program. He was appointed earlier in 2021, as a part of the transformation efforts that will see both anti-doping and anti-corruption efforts brought in ITIA’s remit.
To help bring more clarity into the sport, the board has also voted for new Tennis Anti-Corruption Program rules which will come into effect in 2022. A new “prohibited association clause” essentially mandates that any officials, players, or members of the staff who have been sanctioned over some form of corruption may no longer be associated in any capacity with participants in the sport whether this has to do with sanctioned or non-sanctioned events.
Keeping Offending Parties Aside
Effectively, wrongdoers must be shunned at all times. Failure to comply could lead to severe penalties for active participants who have not been necessarily involved in any prohibited activity other than their association with said parties.
ITIA will benefit from being in charge of both the Anti-Corruption and Anti-Doping programs as it would be able to pool resources and exchange information and evidence to bring down offending parties. ITF president David Haggerty welcome the move as it would guarantee more transparency in the sport, something that ITIA is fully committed to.
“We have worked closely with the ITIA to ensure a seamless handover of responsibilities and we look forward to supporting their efforts moving forward,” Haggerty explained. ITIA has been active in penalizing offending parties. In December, the organization suspended a Mexican player and investigated and penalized six Moroccan players for various offenses related to match-fixing.