28 tennis players investigated after police smash match fixing ring

Some 80 people are being investigated by Spanish police over suspected tennis match-fixing

CHRIS SYMESSome 80 people are being investigated by Spanish police over suspected tennis match-fixing

Spanish police arrested 83 people, including 28 professional tennis players, suspected of gaining millions of euros by fixing professional matches, Europol revealed on Thursday.

European Union police agency Europol report that 11 house searches had been carried out in Spain in which 167,000 euros (roughly $192,000) in cash were seized, along with a shotgun.

Although none of the players have been named, it is understood one of them competed in last year's US Open.

Police say 15 people were arrested, including some of the tennis players, after 11 houses were raided.

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Police accused Spaniard player Marc Fornell-Mestres, whose highest career singles ranking was 236th in 2007, of acting as the link between players and the Armenian ring that bribed them for betting purposes.

No other names were immediately disclosed by authorities.

The 36-year-old Fornell-Mestres was provisionally suspended from professional tennis at the end of last year, according to the Tennis Integrity Unit, which said the suspension related to an investigation into "alleged breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program". Bank accounts have also been frozen.

Apart from allegedly bribing players, the suspects are accused of using identities of thousands of citizens to bet on the pre-arranged games. They also gave orders for "other members of the group" to place bets at the "national and global level".

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Spanish police have made widespread arrests following an investigation into tennis match-fixing by an organised Armenian criminal gang.

None of the arrested people has been named.

Twenty-one individuals broke anti-corruption rules, with the majority sanctioned for match-fixing or betting offences.

As many as 28 professional tennis players are being investigated for possible match-fixing offenses, with one player thought to be a Grand Slam star.

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"The imbalance between prize money and the cost of competing places players in an invidious position by tempting them to contrive matches for financial reward", the report said.

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