Flipping Match-Fixing Upside Down: Who Protects the Players?

Daniel Köllerer was sentenced to lifetime bans and large fines by the Tennis Integrity Unit on the basis of very little evidence. Photo: Robbie Mendelson/Flickr

In the last few days at the Play the Game conference it has been well confirmed, that match-fixing is indeed a problem locally, nationally and internationally.

A lot of solutions to dealing with match-fixing via both disciplinary action and criminal law has been suggested.

But who will protect the interests of the athletes if the hunt for match-fixers turn into a witch hunt, and someone unjustly takes the fall?

Life or six months
Speaker Katarina Pijetlovic presented an interesting case of recent match-fixing cases in tennis, where high profile players, including Daniel Köllerer, was sentenced to lifetime bans and large fines by the Tennis Integrity Unit, on the basis of very little evidence.

It was one man’s word against another – the accused against the accuser.

Players suspected of similar crimes, who confessed, was sentenced much more leniently with bans of only six months and fines of 3000 dollars. Making it the more appealing choice, to actually admit to match-fixing – guilty or not.

Void and null
The agreement the players have to sign is legally void, because none of the terms has been negotiated with the affected players before they sign.

“The wawer the players has to sign to play professionally takes away their right of appeal, and by signing it, they agree that they can be charged with crimes based on a low standard of evidence,” Katarina Pijetlovic explained.

None the less, the players have to sign the agreement and follow its rules, because they have no other choice, if they want to be a part of the pro-leagues.

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