Tennis: ITIA Makes Long-term Suspensions for Betting-Related Offences

The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has suspended French tennis player Leny Mitjana for a period of ten years, also followed with a fine of $20,000.

Having been found guilty of a total of 11 breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP), Mitjana’s sanction is linked to a recently concluded criminal case involving a match-fixing syndicate in Belgium. 

Collaboration between the ITIA and Belgian authorities led to a five-year custodial sentence for the leader of the syndicate, Grigor Sargsyan.

Mitjana held a career-high world singles ranking of 458 in 2018. He denied all charges related to the fixing of matches in 2017 and 2018. 

A hearing was held before independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Phillipe Cavalieros on 8 November 2023. 

A statement from the tennis body explained: “AHO Cavalieros found Mitjana liable for breaches of sections D.1.b, D.1.d, D.1.e and D.2.a.i of the TACP, which include the facilitation of wagering, contriving the outcome of matches, influencing other players not to use their best efforts in matches, and failing to report corrupt approaches.”

In detail, during the period of ineligibility, the player is now prohibited from playing in, coaching at, or attending any tennis event authorised or sanctioned by the members of the ITIA (ATP, ITF, WTA, Tennis Australia, French Tennis Federation, Wimbledon and USTA) or any national association.

The suspension is set to run from the date of the decision (22 December 2023), and end on 21 December 2033.

Meanwhile, Bulgarian tennis official Stefan Milanov has also been suspended from the sport for a period of 16 years following 17 breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP).

Milanov, a national-level official who served a six-month suspension for betting offences in 2022, did not respond to the ITIA’s charges, the group explained.

The case was ruled on by independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer (AHO) Amani Khalifa, who also issued Milanov a fine of $75,000. 

In failing to respond to the ITIA charges – relating to five matches that they umpired in 2021 – Milanov effectively admitted liability for all charges and acceded to the sanctions.

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