Two ex-British cops to head match-fixing prevention effort

Updated: January 7, 2008, 5:51 PM ET
Associated Press

Two former British police officers who fought corruption in horse racing and cricket are going to head tennis' efforts to prevent match-fixing.

Ben Gunn, who has worked for the British Horseracing Authority, and Jeff Rees, who retired in November from the International Cricket Council's security unit, were appointed Monday by tennis' governing bodies.

The sport's leaders want to avoid more problems after a season that included a gambling investigation into a match involving fourth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko and the suspensions of three players for betting on matches.

"We recognize the need to take positive action to prevent corruption in our sport," International Tennis Federation executive director Bill Babcock said. "This independent review by experts in the field will give us a more comprehensive understanding of the issue at hand and allow us to take specific measures to protect our sport now and for the future."

Representatives of the ITF, the Grand Slam Committee and the ATP and WTA tours met in London in October to discuss ways to avoid match-fixing and betting scams.

Gunn and Rees will oversee a study in January and February that will cover:

• identifying threats to pro tennis' integrity;

• a review of the current systems in place designed to protect the sport;

• advice on how to implement new rules and procedures;

• an analysis of strategies and resources needed to deal with current and foreseeable threats.

Gunn and Rees each served more than 25 years as a detective with London's Metropolitan Police. Gunn worked on counterterrorism, subversion and security, while Rees worked within New Scotland Yard's most prestigious investigative units.

Gunn has a law degree from Cambridge University and chaired a 2003 security review of horse racing in Britain. Rees was chief investigator and general manager of the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption and security unit from 2000 until last year.

The issue of integrity in tennis came to the fore in August, when an online betting site voided all wagers on a match in Poland between Davydenko and 87th-ranked Martin Vassallo Arguello because of irregular betting patterns. Davydenko withdrew from the match in the third set, citing a foot injury.

Since then, several players came forward to say they have been approached with offers to fix matches for money.

The ATP opened an investigation into the Davydenko match, interviewing him and his wife and reviewing telephone records. No findings have been announced.

Late last year, three Italian pros -- Potito Starace, Daniele Bracciali and Alessio Di Mauro -- were suspended for betting on tennis matches involving other players.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press