The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has confirmed the provisional suspensions of three professional athletes. According to the announcement, Timur Khabibulin, Sanjar Fayziev and Igor Smilansky breached the codes of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP) by trying to manipulate the outcomes of games.
The players in question will remain provisionally suspended until their official sanctions have been considered. The decision was made by Janie Soublière, an anti-corruption hearing officer.
The ITIA justified its provisional suspension with the following rule outlined in the TACP:
In the event that the Covered Person is found liable of one or more of the charges against them and sanction is not determined at the same time as the decision on liability, the AHO, either of the AHO’s own volition or on an application by the ITIA, must impose a Provisional Suspension pending the final decision on sanction.
As of July 25, the trio can no longer compete or attend any sanctioned sports event organized or recognized by the tennis governing bodies.
The Players Violated the TACP on Multiple Occasions
The ITIA reported that the Khabibulin, Fayziev and Smilansky have career peaks of 753, 253 and 451, respectively.
According to Soublière, the Kazakhstan-born Khabibulin violated the TACP 18 times between 2014 and 2018. The Uzbekistani athlete Fayziev and the Israeli athlete Smilansky, on the other hand, committed 5 and 3 breaches of the TACP, respectively, in collaboration with Khabibulin.
The three players conspired together to contrive aspects of matches for wagering gain. They also failed to report corrupt approaches. In addition, Khabibulin offered money to other players to influence their performance.
ITIA Continues to Crack Down on Fraud
The ITIA is an independent body founded by the International Governing Bodies of Tennis that seeks to identify and protect the sport from fraud and manipulation.
The body recently banned the Bolivian umpire Percy Flores over similar violations of the TACP. The umpire will be excluded from the sport for 12 whole years.
Prior to that, the ITIA teamed up with the ITF to launch mandatory integrity education for players with an active Juniors International Player Identification Number. The program seeks to teach players about the nature of fraud, its nature and its consequences.
In July, the body also sanctioned Mark Philippoussis over violations of the sponsorship rules in professional tennis. The Australian coach had participated in a voiceover where he promoted a gambling operator’s products.