(Reuters) - The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has said it will phase out the collection of live scoring data at all World Tennis Tour (WTT) events offering prize money of up to $15,000 as part of its fight against corruption in the sport’s lower levels.
The governing body has also announced an investment of $8 million “to create a comprehensive integrity infrastructure”.
The move follows a recommendation in December last year by an International Review Panel (IRP) commissioned to address betting-related and other integrity issues.
“Our commitment to protecting the integrity of the World Tennis Tour is paramount,” ITF President David Haggerty said in a statement on the governing body’s website on Wednesday.
“The scale of this project is unprecedented. We are confident that it will deliver real benefits for all participants and will contribute to the trend of reducing corruption risk seen in 2019.”
The ITF also announced several other measures, including the introduction of accreditation for WTT events, video recording, increased security and better channels for the reporting of integrity concerns.
Jenny Price, Chair of the Tennis Integrity Supervisory Board, said the IRP’s recommendation to remove live scoring data had been a priority over the past year.
“Detailed work on implementation of the recommendation has made it clear how important it will be to ensure that official data is not simply replaced by unofficial data,” she added.
“The enhanced security and accreditation processes... are essential to ensure that the playing environment is properly protected and the opportunities for unofficial data collection are minimised.”
The ITF said it had been reducing the supply of live scoring data for low level WTT events since the IRP’s report.
“Up to 3,500 fewer matches will have been made available to betting markets in 2019 compared to 2018,” it added.
“Further reductions will continue during 2020 and 2021, leading to complete discontinuance of live scoring data at WTT $15k events, when all integrity protection measures are in place.”
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford