ITF issues life bans to Uzbek officials for corruption offences

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has handed out life bans to Sherzod Hasanov and Arkhip Molotyagin after the Uzbek officials were found guilty of a number of offences under the Code of Conduct for Officials.

The pair received the punishments after an ITF disciplinary panel found them guilty of a number of betting-related offences. The charges followed an investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit. Hasanov and Molotyagin have also had their ITF officiating certifications permanently revoked by the ITF.

Hasanov and Molotyagin were found guilty of using a mobile phone to communicate scores of matches they officiated on to a third party at an ITF Futures event in Tiberias, Israel in September 2015. The pair were also found guilty of delaying the input of scores into their PDA devices to allow the third party and/or other third parties time to place bets on the matches.

In addition, Hasanov and Molotyagin were adjudged to have delayed inputting scores and/or inputted “fictitious deuce games” into their PDA devices at other Futures events over a seven-month period.

Hasanov was also found guilty of having counselled or procured another official and/or officials to “participate in the manipulation of the livescoring system” in or around January 2015 including, but not limited to, Molotyagin.

Finally, the pair were found guilty of failing to report to the Joint Certification Programme the unlawful conduct of officials they knew were manipulating the livescoring system.

As a result of the charges, the pair will no longer be permitted to officiate at events organised or sanctioned by the ITF, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), or at grand slam tournaments.

In June, sports and betting-related services company Sportradar agreed a partnership with the European Sport Security Association (ESSA) to tackle match-fixing in tennis. The two parties are working together to provide an extensive overview of the betting market within tennis and monitoring any suspicious activity.

In February, the ESSA issued a report that stated tennis was responsible for almost three quarters of all the suspicious betting alerts issued in 2015. The report found that 73 of the 100 events that raised concern last year involved tennis, and that tennis accounted for 24 of the 35 events deemed suspicious in the final quarter of 2015.