Anyone who has spent any time in trading chatrooms or forums is likely to have had experience of the cries of “fix!!” when a match or market seems suspect. Ofcourse a lot of the time all that’s happened is they are in a losing position but occasionally we see markets that are clearly not being affected purely by the match score. Sometimes its blatantly obvious that the result of the match has been arranged prior to the game starting.
You may remember the match between Chela and Shwank in Acapulco back in February where Chela started as underdog despite being priced at 1.50 in the hours before the match and being far superior to his opponent. He then went on the win the first set easily and it wasn’t until he was a break up in the second set that he became favourite on Betfair! Chela led 5-1 in the second set and then allowed Shwank to come back. to 5-4. Chela was broken when serving for the match. He double faulted on break point. Schwank held serve for 6-5 and then Chela quit saying he was injured.
Very few are so blatant and it was surprising that no action seems to have been taken against Chela. The price movements show without any doubt that there were people with inside information and the retirement was agreed before the match. Chela can sue me if he wishes. Most of the time it is very difficult to prove that a player isn’t trying or is actively throwing the match. It can be a fine line between a brilliant passing shot and the ball landing in the tramlines.
The Tennis Integrity Unit have reportedly passed a list to the Wimbledon organisers of people who should be banned from certain areas which give them access to players. That includes the locker rooms, practice courts and some of the social areas. The people on this list are not players but are those who try to influence the outcome of matches. Only the top players make enough money from playing to make any bribes or incentives unattractive. As more and more money is attracted to the gambling aspects of tennis so more and more players will be given an offer too good to refuse. Making it more tempting for them is the fact that only 1 player has ever received a life ban for match fixing and that was Austrian Koellerer in May this year.
The TIU is run by a former Scotland Yard detective and was set up by the ITF, ATP and WTA to protect the sport from betting scandals. All players must sign up to the Uniform Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme.
In reality the vast majority of tennis matches are not fixed and the players are giving the best they can to get the win. You are still unlucky if you get caught out by an unexpected retirement ( although sometimes it works in our favour. Thanks Azarenka! ). Sensible bank management will ensure minimum damage to our trading accounts.