LONDON (Reuters) – Tennis accounted for the majority of suspicious betting activity flagged up by the European Sports Security Association (ESSA) with 34 incidents in the second quarter of 2016.
The sport, hit by match-fixing allegations before this year’s Australian Open and undergoing an Independent Review of its anti-corruption procedures, made up 83 percent of total suspicious activity reported by ESSA.
Soccer had four alerts with the one each in beach volleyball, handball and snooker.
More than half of the alerts originated from Europe, according to ESSA, which shares information with betting firms and sports governing bodies to detect possible corruption.
ESSA chairman Mike O’Kane said he welcomed the steps tennis’s governing bodies were taking to guard against possible match-fixing. “It is quite right that the tennis authorities seek to conduct a thorough investigation of its integrity procedures,” he said in a statement.
“We must, quite reasonably, give the sport some breathing space to identify and implement any necessary changes, but changes are clearly needed and the sooner the better for us all.
“In the meantime, ESSA will continue to support the sport in this important endeavour, which will hopefully soon result in the delivery of a best practice model that others will follow.”
The Tennis Integrity Unit’s (TIU) figures were higher for the same period as it gathers data from more sources.
A recent report said it received a total of 73 match alerts, including the 34 from ESSA, from April to June, two from ATP Tour matches but none at the French Open or on the WTA Tour.
It said that represented 0.24 percent of the total of 30,353 professional matches played in that period. Alerts are not necessarily proof of wrongdoing, it said.
“The TIU figures are the most comprehensive for the sport and represent the widest coverage of the betting market,” a TIU spokesman said.
In the first quarter of 2016 there were 48 tennis-related betting alerts, according to the TIU, from 24,110 matches.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)