The English newspaper The Telegraph reports that Parliament plans to announce hearings into the match-fixing scandal that has rocked the tennis world and cast a shadow over the ongoing Australian Open. A report by BuzzFeed and the BBC released last weekend claimed tennis officials have evidence that men’s players have thrown matches, including ones at Grand Slam tournaments, but have done little to address the issue. According to the Telegraph report, Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport select committee is expected to call officials from the Tennis Integrity Unit, the body responsible for investigating match-fixing, to testify. It’s even possible that the names of players alleged to have fixed matches could be revealed.
In addition to officials from the Tennis Integrity Unit, members of the Association of Tennis Professionals, which operates the men’s pro tour, could also be questioned. Tennis officials have strongly denied suppressing information about suspected match-fixing.
BuzzFeed and the BBC didn’t reveal the names of the athletes identified in the leaked documents as suspected fixers, but according to the Telegraph, the evidence submitted to the committee could include those names, and it’s possible those athletes could be outed under parliamentary privilege over the course of a hearing. According to the paper, “The committee has used privilege – which protects information revealed in Parliament from Britain’s libel laws – in previous sporting inquiries, most notably during that into the award of the next two World Cup finals tournaments.”
But, as the paper notes, it will also be under pressure not to unintentionally out any athletes, as it did with Paula Radcliffe last year during a parliamentary inquiry into blood doping. Radcliffe’s name had been on a leaked list of athletes with “suspicious blood values,” and though she hadn’t been named in the press, the MP Jesse Norman appeared to allude to Radcliffe during the hearings. Radcliffe was later cleared of wrongdoing.