Tennis authorities announce new year ‘integrated approach’ to integrity

By | December 30, 2021

The global governing bodies of tennis have announced a new integrity strategy for 2022, adopting an ‘integrated approach’ and placing greater responsibility on the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA).

Undertaking its decision, the Tennis Integrity Supervisory Board approved the move to transfer the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme to the ITIA from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) as of 1 January 2022.

Jennie Price, Chair of the Tennis Integrity Supervisory Board said, “Having one fully integrated organisation working on both anti-doping and anti-corruption creates a major opportunity for the sport. 

“Shared intelligence and shared resources will make us more efficient, and most importantly, more effective. This is the result of a great deal of planning in the last twelve months to ensure we are ready to hit the ground running on 1 January. The independence of the ITIA is crucial when it comes to integrity matters and tennis can be proud that it is leading the way.”

Established at the start of this year as an independent body funded by tennis’ governing bodies, the ITIA will now hold responsibility for all integrity matters relating to doping and corruption.

The programme will continue to be overseen by Nicole Sapstead, who was appointed in May 2021 as Senior Director, Anti Doping. The decision to transfer the initiative to the authority of the ITIA was ‘confirmed in principle’ by the international tennis authorities in 2019, having been first proposed by the Independent Review Panel report in 2018.

In support of the anti-corruption and anti-doping strategy for 2022, the Supervisory Board has committed $15.8 million for ITIA operations, representing the sport’s highest ever investment into integrity safeguarding.

“This is a really important moment for tennis,” remarked David Haggerty, President of the ITF. “As a sport, we committed to more transparency and complete independence for the way the doping and anti-corruption programmes are managed. 

“We have worked closely with the ITIA to ensure a seamless handover of responsibilities and we look forward to supporting their efforts moving forward.”

A separate move has seen the implementation of updated anti-corruption rules, with the ITIA and ITS planning on contacting all professional players to ensure they are informed of the new guidelines and requirements. 

Notably, a ‘prohibited association’ clause means that players, coaches or officials who have been sanctioned for anti-corruption offences can no longer have any sporting or professional association with participants in the sport whether inside or outside of sanctioned events.

Furthermore, there will be ‘more scope’ for integrity investigations to cross over between codes in order to allow evidence from anti-corruption cases and anti-doping cases to complement each other.

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