Tennis Match-Fixing Accusations Lead to Two More Player Bans

The world of tennis has been rocked in the past years by reports of match-fixing, and now two more players have been handed bans. The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) recently revealed that two male professional tennis players from Algeria received bans after an investigation into their involvement in match-fixing.

Tennis court
An empty tennis court waiting for players. The International Tennis Integrity Agency has given bans to two Algerian players it found guilty of rigging matches. (Image: Getty Images)

The ITIA also said it uncovered evidence that the players conspired to manipulate the outcome of certain matches. At all levels of professional sports, corruption is still a problem. But it’s become increasingly easier to uncover potential wrongdoing.

Tennis and soccer have been at the forefront of match-fixing around the world. It’s an issue that affects the integrity of the game and impacts sports betting. However, several reports have revealed that the number of instances may be dropping.

Mohamed Hassan Receives Lifetime Ban

Mohamed Hassan was found to have been involved in match-fixing between 2016 and 2018. He reportedly broke 29 rules in just seven matches during that time, leading to a lifetime ban. The 27-year-old will also have to pay a fine of $12,100.

Fellow Algerian player Houria Boukholda also colluded in rigging tennis matches, but not to the same extent as Hassan. In fact, she may have been an honest player if she hadn’t allowed her fellow countryman to take advantage of her.

The 20-year-old reportedly violated the rules 15 times across five matches between 2017 and 2018. Because of her young age and immaturity, as well as Hassan’s influence, Boukholda received a suspension of 24 months, 18 of which were suspended. She will have to pay a fine of $10K, with $9,000 of that suspended, as well.

The ITIA, which recently announced that Karen Moorhouse will become its new CEO in February, didn’t explain how it determined the players had violated the rules. It said that the activity came to light as part of a larger investigation involving law enforcement officers in Belgium. Therefore, it’s possible that there could be additional fallout.

Apparently, the players aren’t willing to defend themselves against the accusations. The ITIA stated that neither had responded after they received notification of the charges. The bans mean they can’t participate in sanctioned games or attend as spectators.

Cleaning Up the Grass

This is the latest in a string of bans the ITIA has handed out in an effort to clean up tennis. In the past year, there have been bans given to players from France, Italy, China, Spain, and Romania.

However, match-fixing isn’t the only target. The organization is also active in keeping players clean from drugs after it took over the responsibility last year. Two players from Chile, which has been suffering from a string of issues in its tennis industry, recently ran afoul of its anti-doping rules.

Felipe Hernández recently received a three-year sentence after testing positive for doping during a tournament in Chile last June. The ITIA explained that the 22-year-old accepted the charges brought under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program (TADP).

Bastián Malla was already on suspension and will stay off the grass – the tennis kind – for two more months. He failed to complete a treatment program against marijuana use described in a sanction issued by the ITIA last year.

The organization suspended him for a month after he tested positive for cannabis. As a condition, he had to pursue an agency-approved substance abuse treatment program. However, Malla failed to provide evidence that he completed the program. As a result, the ITIA extended the additional period of disqualification in December. It now runs until February 18.

Simona Halep, who has two Grand Slams to her credit, received a provisional suspension by the ITIA in October of last year. This was after the former Romanian number one failed a drug test during the US Open two months earlier. She has repeatedly denied the allegations she used any banned substance.