European crime experts descend on Australian Open with ‘persons of interest’ monitored | Tennis | Sport
While Grand Slam organisers have long been aware of the threat that criminals and illegal activity pose to the sport, the true extent of this activity is only just coming to light with the ITIA sharing their classified intelligence with international law enforcement agencies, prompting a beefed-up approach to crime-fighting at the Majors.
It comes as tennis was found to have the most suspicious alerts in the third quarter of 2022 according to figures from the International Betting Integrity Association – the global watchdog for the licensed betting industry. The organisation was notified about 76 suspicious alerts from different sports around the world and 33 were related directly to tennis – more than twice as many as any other sport.
While none of them originated from Australia, there have been previous warnings of criminal activity in the country which includes a match from the start of 2022 that had been flagged as a “suspicious alert”. And Sport Integrity Australia have gotten involved at the Australian Open for the first time in 2023, working alongside the ITIA to run the event’s anti-doping programme and help in their efforts to crack down on match-fixing after cases in other countries showed that criminals will stop at nothing to entrap those involved in sport, using methods including blackmailing them with money loans, recreational drugs and honeytrap prostitutes.