The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has taken action against seven Belgian players for their involvement in a match-fixing syndicate in Belgium. This action comes after a criminal court found the players in breach of the ITIA Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP).
The convicted players, including Arnaud Graisse, Arthur de Greef, Julien Dubail, Romain Barbosa, Maxime Authom, Omar Salman, and Alec Witmeur, agreed to sanctions with the ITIA. Their involvement in the match-fixing syndicate has led to bans of varying lengths.
The syndicate was headed by Grigor Sargsyan, who was recently convicted and given a five-year prison sentence. Described as “the man who built the biggest match-fixing ring in tennis” by the Washington Post, Sargsyan recruited over 180 professional players across five continents.
Of the convicted players, Witmeur, de Greef, and Barbosa have been provisionally suspended since May 2021. Witmeur admitted to six breaches of the TACP, while de Greef and Barbosa admitted to nine breaches each. They were given lengthy bans, with de Greef suspended for three years and nine months, and Barbosa for five years and nine months.
The other four players, Graisse, Dubail, Authom, and Salman, were also found guilty of multiple breaches of the TACP. Their suspensions range from two years and seven months for Salman to four years and 10 months for Graisse.
During the suspensions, the players are prohibited from participating in, coaching at, or attending any professional tennis events authorized or sanctioned by the ITIA or any national association.
The ITIA also mentioned that ongoing proceedings against players involved in syndicate cases outside Belgium are still in progress. As such, this is just one step in their efforts to ensure the integrity of professional tennis.