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David Cameron Is "Deeply Concerned" About Allegations Of Match-Fixing In World Tennis

"The people that suffer the most are the fans," his spokesperson said.

Originally posted on
Updated on
Attila Kisbenedek / AFP / Getty Images

David Cameron has called for an urgent independent investigation into allegations of match-fixing in world tennis in the wake of a BuzzFeed News probe released on Sunday.

The prime minister's spokesperson said the allegations were "deeply concerning" and sporting authorities must "get on" and investigate them as soon as possible.

She told journalists on Monday: "It's deeply concerning that another sport is facing such serious allegations. With the allegations that we've seen in other sports like athletics and football, the people that suffer the most are the fans, and the prime minister would want to see the issue investigated by the independent authorities.

"The most important thing is that action is taken now in response and that the independent authorities get on with that. They've got to build their credibility and the confidence of those who want to know the real truth behind such allegations."

BuzzFeed News and the BBC exposed secret files containing evidence of widespread match-fixing by players at the upper level of world tennis overnight.

A core group of 16 players – all of whom have ranked in the top 50 – have been repeatedly flagged to the world tennis authorities over suspicions that they have thrown matches at tournaments including Wimbledon, allowing corrupt gamblers to cash in by betting against them.

None of those players have ever faced sanctions. More than half of them are playing at the Australian Open, which started on Monday.

John Whittingdale
Dominic Lipinski / PA WIRE

John Whittingdale

Earlier, culture secretary John Whittingdale told BuzzFeed News it was "deeply concerning that yet another sport is facing serious allegations of match-fixing" and also called for an urgent inquiry.

He said: "Once again it has been British investigative journalism that has brought this to light, and has raised serious questions about how this was allowed to go on – and it would seem, deliberately covered up for so long.

"This reinforces the need for a global anti-corruption initiative and demonstrates why the PM is absolutely right to put this at the top of his agenda. He will be hosting a major anti-corruption summit later this year and tackling corruption in sport will play a big part in that.

"I hope that the ITF [International Tennis Federation] will launch an urgent and fully transparent investigation immediately."

Serena Williams
Paul Crock / AFP / Getty Images

Serena Williams

As the Australian Open started in Melbourne, tennis officials held a press conference to deny that they suppressed evidence of corruption at the game's top levels.

Women's world No. 1 Serena Williams said she had never seen any indications of match-fixing in games she'd been involved in.

"When I'm playing, I can only answer for me, I play very hard, and every player I play seems to play hard," Williams told reporters following her opening round victory.

"As an athlete, I do everything I can to be not only great, but historic. If that [match-fixing] is going on, I don't know about it. I'm kind of sometimes in a little bit of a bubble."

BuzzFeed

And speaking at the Open, Novac Djokovic said there was no proof of any active player being involved in match-fixing.

"There is no room for any match-fixing or corruption in our sport," he said, "[But] there's no proof or evidence yet of any active player. It's just speculation."

Alicia Melville-Smith is a homepage editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alicia Melville-Smith at alicia.melville-smith@buzzfeed.com.

Emily Ashton is a senior political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Emily Ashton at emily.ashton@buzzfeed.com.

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