All England Club supports independent review of integrity issues

Wimbledon's spring news conference saw the All England Club support an independent review into betting, but rally against coaching.

Published : May 01, 2018 18:02 IST

Centre Court at Wimbledon
Centre Court at Wimbledon

Centre Court at Wimbledon

The All England Club (AELTC) has backed an independent review that found a "serious integrity problem" with betting in lower-level tennis events.

The review into possible corruption in tennis - appointed by the ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slam Board - concluded last week, with one Tennis Integrity Unit investigator describing the problem at some lower-level tournaments as a "tsunami".

And the AELTC is happy that it has co-operated fully, agreeing with the report and picking out a number of key points that it hopes to see acted upon in the future.

"Wimbledon, along with the other six stakeholders, have confirmed support for the IRP [Independent Review Panel] and, more importantly, the commitment to implement the recommendations," chief executive Richard Lewis said at Wimbledon's spring news conference.

"If you look at our submission, you will see that what we, Wimbledon, said in 2016 has stood the test of time. We are pleased with the direction the IRP is taking us for the future with regards to integrity."

He continued: "We wish to comment, in particular, on several of the IRP's recommendations. Of particular importance to us is repositioning the sport's relationship with the betting industry through the removal of official data at the lower levels.

"This change goes to the heart of the issue faced by tennis at the lower levels, dealing with the issue at its source.

"We also feel strongly about the need to redefine professional tennis. It has always been absurd to call thousands of tennis players 'professional'."

Lewis also hit out at the introduction of coaching during tournaments, stating that the AELTC is against the practice happening at Wimbledon.

"We totally disagree that coaching should be allowed and feel very strongly indeed that coaching in tournament play is wrong," he said. "It is a fundamental matter of philosophy for Wimbledon that tennis is a gladiatorial sport."

The total prize money for this year's Wimbledon will be increased to £34million - up 7.6 per cent - while singles champions will claim £2.25m.

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