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Thursday June 2, 2011

Austrian Koellerer banned for life for match-fixing

MANCHESTER: Austrian tennis player Daniel Koellerer (pic) has been banned from the sport for life for match-fixing, the Tennis Inte­grity Unit (TIU) said on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old, ranked 385th in the world and who reached a career high 55th in 2009, became the first tennis player to receive the life ban after being found guilty of three charges under the Uniform Tennis Anti-Corruption Program­me, including “contriving or attempting to contrive the outcome of an event”.

“The life ban applies with immediate effect, and means Koellerer is not eligible to participate in any tournament or competition organised or sanctioned by the governing bodies of professional tennis,” the TIU said in a statement.

Koellerer, who was also fined US$100,000 for betting-related corruption, has the right to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The TIU were established by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the ATP and WTA Tours to protect the sport from corruption and betting scandals. All players must sign up to the Uniform Tennis Anti-Corruption Program­me.

Koellerer, who was last year handed a suspended three-month ban after admitting using his personal website to facilitate betting on matches, this time faced much more serious charges at an anti-corruption hearing in London in April.

Apart from contriving or attempting to contrive the outcome of an event, the TIU said he had been found guilty of “soliciting or facilitating a player not to use his or her best efforts in an event”.

The other charge was “soliciting, offering or providing money, benefit or consideration to any other covered person with the intention of negatively influencing a player’s best efforts in any event”.

The TIU said the violations had taken place between October 2009 and July 2010.

Playing much of his career on the Challenger circuit, Koellerer’s best performance at a Grand Slam event was in 2009 when he reached the third round of the US Open where he was defeated in four sets by eventual champion Juan Martin del Potro.

During his 11-year professional career, he earned US$756,453 in prize-money playing singles and doubles. — Reuters

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