December 5, 2023

The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has recently issued bans to three players involved in match-fixing. Timur Khabibulin from Kazakhstan, Sanjar Fayziev from Uzbekistan, and Igor Smilansky from Israel were found to have violated the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP), resulting in their bans and fines. The independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Janie Soublière presided over the hearing and made the decisions. Khabibulin received a lifetime ban and a fine of $60,000 for 21 charges from 2014 to 2019. Fayziev was given a three-year and six-month ban (with six months suspended) and was fined $15,000 for five charges in 2018. Smilansky received a two-year ban and a $4,000 fine (with $1,000 suspended) for three charges in 2018. These bans will take effect from the date that the players were provisionally suspended, which was July 25th, 2023.

As a result of their bans, Khabibulin, Fayziev, and Smilansky are now prohibited from participating in any tennis event authorized or sanctioned by the ITIA members, including the ATP, ITF, WTA, Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open, and any national association.

The ITIA has been actively taking action against corruption in tennis. In August 2023, French tennis player Alexis Musialek was banned for life due to 39 breaches of the TACP. In May, umpire Heriberto Morales Churata from Bolivia was banned for six years and fined $10,000 after an investigation revealed that he manipulated scores for betting purposes. In March, Slovenian player Nastja Kolar and U.S. player Alexandra Riley were found to have committed multiple rule breaches between 2015 and 2020, resulting in provisional suspensions.

The ITIA’s ongoing efforts aim to maintain the integrity and fairness of tennis by cracking down on match-fixing and other corrupt activities within the sport.

Author Bio:
Ciaran McEneaney is a gambling industry analyst with more than a decade of experience working with major names in the sports betting, gambling, poker, and casino industry.