Corrupt Tennis Umpires Banned

first_imgLONDON, ENGLAND — Two tennis umpires have been banned and four others are under investigation for corruption, authorities said Tuesday.The sanctions were confirmed by the International Tennis Federation in response to a story published online by The Guardian.Kirill Parfenov of Kazakhstan was banned for life in February 2015 for using Facebook to contact another official in an “attempt to manipulate the scoring of matches,” the ITF said in a statement.Denis Pitner of Croatia was suspended for a year in August after passing on details on the “physical well-being of a player to a coach during a tournament and regularly logging on to a betting account from which bets were placed on tennis matches,” the ITF said.Four other unidentified officials were suspended while investigations continue into their conduct.“In order to ensure no prejudice of any future hearing we cannot publicly disclose the nature or detail of those investigations,” the ITF said. “Should any official be found guilty of an offense, it will be announced publicly.”The ITF code was changed in December to allow the public reporting of sanctions for officials, but the governing body could not explain why it only announced details following media questions. The ITF also declined to explain why it would not provide details on matches involved in the case.The Guardian said the offenses took place on the Futures Tour, the lowest rung of professional tennis. It said umpires allegedly took bribes from betting syndicates in exchange for manipulating live scores, allowing gamblers to place bets already knowing the outcome of the next point.The story follows BBC and BuzzFeed allegations about match-fixing at the top level of the sport that overshadowed the start of the Australian Open last month. Those reports led to the announcement of an independent review into tennis’ anti-corruption practices, which are overseen by the Tennis Integrity Unit.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Why does county cricket always get the blame for England’s failings?

first_imgShare on Pinterest Australia sport ECB England cricket team Cricket Share on Messenger The last big ballyhoo in English cricket was after the team’s abject 2015 World Cup. Paul Downton lost his job as the managing director and Andrew Strauss took over with instructions to improve England’s limited-overs cricket before the 2019 tournament. Concurrently, the board was concocting plans to bring in a new T20 league. It’s been designed to address two other long-standing criticisms of the way it has run the sport, which were that having invented T20, the ECB’s version of it had long since been overtaken by others around the world and that youth interest and participation in the sport had dropped off a cliff while it was stuck behind Sky’s paywall.Most of the key decisions since have been made to serve those ends. Trevor Bayliss was hired, in the large part, because he had such a strong record as a limited-overs coach. Then, the number of County Championship matches was cut and the schedules rearranged so teams could play limited-overs cricket on hard, fresh pitches at the height of summer, the one-day final could take centre stage again, and the players would have to do less chopping and changing between formats.Problem being that when the ECB shifted one piece of this jigsaw into place it left a muddle in the other corner. The championship has been marginalised, shunted into the far ends of the season, when conditions are more likely to suit the very kind of bowling that suffered in Australia, and at domestic level, the counties and their players are being encouraged to prioritise limited-overs cricket.So the ECB has over-corrected, and ended up off course in the other direction. But then, you would need to be a hell of a plate spinner to come up with a system that serves the national team in all three formats, keeps the counties solvent, satisfies diehard fans and seduces a new audience too. The ECB would do well to find a chaplain to blame. Since you’re here… … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Support The Guardian Topics Ashes 2017-18 Steven Finn Read more Melbourne miracle of 1998 shows ‘dead-rubber’ fourth Ashes Tests do mattercenter_img Dexter had a rare flair for the form, though. These days (if not always) a lot of the explanations, excuses and arguments about what went wrong are starting to sound tired and familiar. As if English cricket was turning circles while it tries to find the way ahead. On the one hand there are the pundits offering old bromides about a weak county game that fails to produce the particular cricketers the national team needs, and on the other, there are county fans who bounce the blame back on to the ECB’s mismanagement of the sport and their coaching set-up at junior and elite levels.This winter the focus is on fast bowlers, because England’s batsmen have been skinned by three of them. Steven Finn touched on the issues when he was doing some charity work for Chance to Shine last week. He picked out the pitches, which are “a bit of a pancake because people are scared of losing games”, and the workload, “when you play 12 months a year it can suck the pace out of you”, but defended the ECB’s national performance centre in Loughborough, where the coaches cannot seem to decide whether they should be teaching quick bowlers to stay fit or get fast.The telling detail was what Finn had to say about the ECB’s recent changes to the playing conditions. Last winter it was not the lack of quick bowlers everyone was worrying about but the shortage of spinners, because England had been thrashed in India. The ECB had taken a step to fix exactly that problem earlier in the year, when they decided that in the championship visiting captains would have the choice of whether or not to bowl first. This was supposed to encourage counties to produce pitches that would bring spinners into the game as it wore on. And it worked.The flip side, Finn explained, is that “we are trying to develop spinners in this country with the toss rules and not making pitches biased towards fast bowlers but I do think the slowness of the wickets discourages people from bowling fast.” Point being that in the attempt to fix one problem, the ECB has exacerbated another. Which is a pattern it is repeating on a larger scale. Steve Smith edges closer to Bradman with new ICC rankings high Sportblog comment Share via Email Read more Ian Botham Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp A stock of explanations and excuses is a valuable bit of any cricketer’s kit and should be kept ready, stashed by bat, box and pads. “The sun was in my eyes. I couldn’t pick it up in this light. My foot slipped. Somebody was moving behind the sightscreen.”England, who, after all, have had no shortage of practice at this, have used some particularly ripe examples over the years. Ian Botham blamed the rain that ruined their chances in a group match against Pakistan at the 1992 World Cup on the team chaplain, Andrew Wingfield Digby “You’re useless, you are,” Botham told him, “It’s not surprising there’s a worldwide movement in favour of Islam.”That was when Ted Dexter was the chair of selectors. Dexter, who once explained away his late arrival for pre-season at Sussex by saying “I was fascinated by an adorable girl”, had a fine line in alibis himself. When England were thrashed in Caluctta in 1993, he announced he was going “to commission a report into pollution levels in Indian cities” (India’s environment minister replied that Dexter should “commission a report into the effect of pollution levels on the trajectories of India’s spinners” instead). And when England lost the Ashes in 1989 Dexter offered the deathless: “Venus may be in the wrong juxtaposition to somewhere else.” Share on Facebook Reuse this contentlast_img read more