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Tennis Australia bolsters integrity unit with senior appointment

Tennis Australia has appointed Ann West to the newly created executive position of head of integrity and compliance as part of a strategy by the national governing body to boost its efforts to combat corruption in the sport.

West currently serves as risk and compliance manager at Tennis Australia, but will now assume responsibility for the organisation’s integrity and compliance strategy.

In her new role, West will work with the Independent Review Panel (IRP) on the current global Tennis Anti-Corruption Program, as well as both develop and implement all recommendations of the IRP within Australia.

In addition, West will work towards improving information and data sharing between member associations, the Tennis Integrity Unit, law enforcement agencies and the other international governing bodies of tennis, as well as foster closer relationships with other major sporting codes in order to assist in unified responses to sport-wide issues.

“Ann’s wealth of experience and knowledge in the areas of integrity and compliance make her the perfect choice to lead a newly created team and her elevation to the executive is both a reflection of her own performance at the company and of her expertise in integrity and compliance,” Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley said.

“Ann will now head up a new team with an uncompromising focus around integrity and compliance as the reputation of our sport is being challenged in a difficult environment.”

West’s appointment comes after this year’s Australian Open was rocked by reports that the Tennis Integrity Unit had not done enough to effectively combat match-fixing. Although tennis officials rejected the claims, they also pledged to improve anti-corruption efforts.

The four governing bodies of international tennis in February outlined the terms of reference and protocols for an Independent Review of Integrity in Tennis, but admitted that the process is expected to take at least a year to complete.

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), International Tennis Federation (ITF) and Grand Slam Board in January said that an independent review into anti-corruption procedures in tennis was to be launched. The announcement came in light of media reports suggesting that tennis officials failed to act on knowledge that a supposed “core group” of 16 players ranked among the top 50 in the world were fixing matches.

Speaking about her appointment, West said: “There has been much criticism of sporting organisations across the globe recently for a lack of transparency in matters of corruption, anti-doping and member protection. The importance of taking an integrated and coordinated approach, and my plan is to have an emphasis on education, is critical to tackling this issue and will be the focus of my new role.

“The first thing on my agenda is to seek out two new hires – an experienced investigator potentially from a law enforcement background and a sports compliance expert. Both of whom would have extensive working knowledge and understanding of national policies and their development in the areas of member protection, integrity and anti-doping.”