Tennis match-fixing: culprits should face life bans - Fleming

Colin Fleming
Colin Fleming says match fixing allegations are "as serious as it gets" for tennis

Great Britain's Colin Fleming says tennis players guilty of match-fixing should face life bans.

Evidence of suspected match-fixing in elite tennis was revealed this week by a BBC and BuzzFeed News investigation.

"Future players will see the headlines and see it's not an option at all," doubles representative Fleming told BBC Scotland on Wednesday.

"I think if anyone is found to be doing it, that should be them. They shouldn't be playing again."

Fleming, 31, and his partner Jonathan Erlich, were beaten 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the first round of the Australian Open on Wednesday by Robin Haase and Fernando Verdasco.

"The key thing about sport is that it's pure, you don't know the outcome of any given match, and that's what people pay to come and watch," he added. "You never know what's going to happen. That's key and they have to preserve that.

"I've never been approached to take money or anything to fix a match or lose a match. It does go on because people have been banned at lower levels. I'm surprised to see the article come out and talk about higher levels; I certainly haven't been aware of anything going on there."

The Scot said he had no idea as to the identity of the suspected match-fixers, and suggested additional funding could be granted to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), set-up to police the sport.

"Your guess is as good as mine," he said of those involved. "There were no names in the article because it's very difficult to prove anything. I think that's the issue the TIU has in that a match can be reported or look suspicious, but it doesn't necessarily mean players are guilty.

"It can just be people throwing money on a match."

Fleming was adamant, though, that no such activities were occurring in Melbourne.

"I think if you're sitting at home or buying a ticket to come and watch here at the Aussie Open, I've no doubt in my mind you're watching pure sporting theatre," he said.

"Players going at it and the best player winning on that day. There's no doubt in my mind that is the case here."

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