Risk expert Jonny Gray has been appointed the first chief executive of the newly-empowered Tennis Integrity Unit, as the sport looks to step up the fight against match-fixing and corruption.
Gray, who will start work in mid-February 2020, will oversee the growth and development of the TIU into a broader-based integrity organisation for professional tennis.
An Independent Review of Tennis Integrity published in December 2018 recommended that the TIU be given more powers, and an independent supervisory board, to combat frequent cases of match-fixing and corruption in professional tennis, particularly in the lower tiers of the sport.
Gray joins the TIU from Control Risks, a global consultancy where he spent 14 years providing integrity oversight for major events, including the London 2012 Olympics. Before this, he was a professional soldier, reaching the rank of colonel, and serving in Belfast, the Balkans, Falklands, Canada, Europe and Iraq.
In a statement released by the TIU, Gray said: “This is a unique opportunity to work with a global sport in tackling issues around corruption and doping. I share the absolute commitment of tennis to achieving the highest standards of integrity and believe passionately in fair and clean sport. It is clear to me that much good work has already been done in this area, and I am looking forward to building on those strong foundations.”
The Independent Review of Tennis said the poor prize money in the lower tiers of tennis provided a greater incentive for match fixing. At one stage it looked like the report would recommend prohibiting the sale of live data in tournaments where prize money fell below a certain level, but it eventually stopped short of such a move. Sportradar, the official data rights partner for the International Tennis Federation’s Pro Circuit, advocates investing in detection, prevention and education rather than prohibition to combat corruption.
Gray will report to the Independent Tennis Integrity Supervisory Board, and work closely with TIU director Nigel Willerton and a 20-strong team of investigators, intelligence and education specialists.