Players bet on tennis, but not their own matches

12/27/2007 - Tennis

LONDON -- The governing body of men's tennis confirmed Thursday that Italians Potito Starace and Daniele Bracciali bet on
tennis matches, and the players had no excuse for not knowing this
was a rules violation.

The ATP said it began investigating in August and found that
Starace wagered on matches in 2006 from Feb. 21 to May 23.
Bracciali's bets were from May 17, 2004 through Jan. 24, 2005.

Starace made five bets totaling $130 and Bracciali made about 50
bets of $7, the Italian tennis federation said. The federation said
both players bet on matches involving others and were unaware the
wagers violated ATP regulations.

"Not knowing the rules is not an excuse," Gayle David
Bradshaw, the ATP's executive vice president for rules and
competition, said Thursday. "Everyone connected to the ATP Tour
has a duty to understand and respect the rules, especially those
designed to protect the integrity of our sport."

Starace, ranked 31st, was suspended for six weeks and fined
$30,000. Bracciali, ranked 258th, was banned for three months and
fined $20,000. Both suspensions begin Monday. The Italian
federation last week called the penalties an "injustice."