Former World No. 49 Daniele Bracciali has been awarded a life-suspension from tennis after he was found guilty of match fixing. The Italian has also been fined $250,000.
His compatriot, Potito Starace, who is now retired, was also said to be involved in similar offences in a separate hearing. However, his punishment includes a suspension from the sport for a period of 10 years and along with a fine of $100,000. As per the sentence, Starace cannot be involved in any capacity in tennis – this also includes attending sanctioned events.
These sanctions came in force on Wednesday, November 21, and were announced by the Tennis Integrity Unit – the apex body responsible for match fixing and corruption investigation in tennis.
As per the statement by the TIU, the two Italians were found guilty of two offences – fixing the outcome of matches, and facilitating betting on matches. The incidents occurred at the 2011 edition of Barcelona Open – an ATP World Tour 500 Series event. Both players can appeal the verdict with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
This is not the first time that the two players were scrutinised. In September 2015, Bracciali and Starace were banned by the Italian Tennis Federation for similar offences. However, Bracciali’s ban was reduced to a year and Starace’s ban was overturned by the appeal panel on the grounds that the evidence was not strong enough.
Bracciali, who is primarily a doubles player now, peaked at the 21st place on the doubles circuit. As for Starace, 37, he won six titles as a doubles player while peaking at the World No. 40 position in 2012.
The two players have now joined a long list of tennis athletes who have been banned from the sport on similar grounds. Most recently, it was Christopher Diaz-Figueroa who was banned from tennis for three years after he admitted to match-fixing. Similarly, in October, the TIU banned Alekseenko twins for life after they were found guilty of multiple match-fixing offences.
The organisation has been working hard to eliminate corruption from the sport. Earlier this year, three Thai chair umpires were also punished by the Tennis Integrity Unit after they were found guilty of match-fixing and related offences.