Six Spanish tennis players have been banned after being convicted of match-fixing, the International Tennis Integrity Agency said on Friday.
The six players, including Marc Fornell Mestres, who has a highest ATP ranking of 236, and Jorge Marse Vidri, who has been ranked 562nd, all pleaded guilty to corruption charges in Spain.
The players were convicted in Spain as part of an ongoing case involving organised crime. All six were given two-year suspended prison sentences.
Details of the bans:
- Marc Fornell Mestres is banned from tennis for 22 years and six months, and fined $250,000 – with $200,000 suspended
- Jorge Marse Vidri is banned from tennis for 15 years, and fined $15,000 – with $5,000 suspended
- Carlos Ortega is banned from tennis for 15 years, and fined $150,000 – with $140,000 suspended
- Jaime Ortega is banned from tennis for 7 years and six months, and fined $100,000 – with $90,000 suspended
- Marcos Tarralbo is banned from tennis for 15 years, and fined $100,000 – with $85,000 suspended
- Pedro Bernabe Franco is banned from tennis for 15 years, and fined $100,000 – with $75,000 suspended
“This is one of the most significant infiltrations of tennis by organised crime that we have seen,” ITIA CEO Jonny Gray said.
“This ruling sends a strong message that match-fixing is a crime which can see criminal convictions.”
ITIA Chair Jennie Price said the sentences and bans showed that “match-fixing can lead to a jail sentence and can end your career in tennis”.
“It also serves as a warning that organised crime is targeting sport, and governments and law enforcement agencies, as well as anti-corruption bodies in sport, need to take that threat seriously,” she said in a statement.
The sanctions mean that they are prohibited from playing in or attending any tennis event authorised or sanctioned by any international tennis governing body or national association for the length of their bans.
They are also unable to coach in the professional game.
The verdicts mark the end of a five-year process which involved co-operation between the ITIA (previously the Tennis Integrity Unit), Spanish law enforcement and the betting industry, through the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA).