Bolivian tennis official suspended for 12 years over corruption

The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has suspended Bolivian tennis official Percy Flores for 12 years over a series of corruption charges.

Flores, who was also fined $15,000 (£11,673/€13,609) by the ITIA, was ruled to have breached the Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme (TACP).

Some 31 breaches were noted between November 2021 and October 2022. These included routine manipulation of scores for betting purposes by entering the wrong score into the umpire’s handheld device.

Flores, a white badge umpire, did not contest the charges and had his suspension backdated to 8 December 2022. The ITIA also reduced this by three years due to mitigating circumstances, including early admission of charges.

As such, the suspension will run until 7 December 2034. Flores cannot officiate at or attend any event authorised by tennis’ governing bodies.

Corruption breaches

In terms of the specific breaches, ITIA noted several sections of both the 2021 and 2022 editions of the TACP.

Featured sections included D.1.b, whereby no covered person shall facilitate, encourage or promote tennis betting. Flores faced 10 counts of breaches of this section.

Nine counts related to D.1.m, which states no official shall manipulate entry of scores or accept, benefit or change scoring data.

The remaining charges were in reference to D.2.b, which covers related persons and all tournament support personnel. Some 10 counts were for D.2.b.i, which requires personnel to report approaches of corruption to the ITIA.

One count was for D.2.b.ii, whereby personnel should report corruption approaches to other staff to the relevant tennis authorities. The final count related to D.1.o, which states no covered person shall solicit others to commit a corruption offence.

ITIA to educate junior tennis players

In other news, the ITIA has partnered with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) on an initiative to educate younger players about integrity.

All players with an active Juniors International Player Identification Number (IPIN), used to register for competitions on the ITF tour, must undertake a mandatory education module.

The module offers an introduction to values and integrity in tennis. This includes setting out information about the TACP and Tennis Anti-Doping Programme.

“This is another positive step in further embedding integrity into our sport,” ITIA chief executive Karen Moorhouse said. “In rolling out mandatory education, the ITIA and ITF are ensuring that the pathway into the professional game contains an important and robust integrity checkpoint for our future stars.

“This is more than making sure that the players know the rules, though. By introducing ourselves to the players early in their careers, we offer our support and ensure that juniors’ first interaction with topics like anti-doping comes as education, rather than a test.”

ITF CEO Kelly Fairweather added: “We are committed to preparing junior players for all aspects of life on the tour and the launch of these mandatory education modules is a crucial part of that.

“Every subject covered in these modules – from tournament entry systems to code of conduct to integrity – is designed to equip players with the skills and knowledge they need to move through the ITF pathway and beyond.”

Original Article