“You only need to influence one person to fix something.” – Challenges and Opportunities – The Tennis Landscape

International Sports Convention, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, 21st March 2024

Challenges and Opportunities – The Tennis Landscape

Karen Moorhouse, CEO International Tennis Integrity Agency

Karen Moorhouse outlined the remit of the International Tennis Integrity Agency:  anti-corruption and anti-doping. The mission is to safeguard the integrity of tennis worldwide.

Corruption is “cheating to lose” and doping is “cheating to win,” she said.

The ITIA is an independent agency funded by their members, and Moorhouse emphasised the focus is on education and prevention. “We are independent but can never be isolated from the sport.”

She said that tennis has a complex governance structure with seven international governing bodies, so having this under one umbrella is important.

She stressed that the vast majority of players are clean. There were around 100 investigations last year, from a pool of about 15,000 players.

A major challenge to the integrity of any sport comes from the betting industry.

“Tennis is a sport that is vulnerable, so many aspects can be fixed that may not affect the overall outcome of the match. It is an individual sport, so you only need to influence one person to fix something.”

But she acknowledged that the relationship with betting is nuanced because the industry is an important source of revenue to the sport via the sale of data.

The constant growth of the betting market is a concern to Moorhouse. She said that all sports are exposed to additional risk. “People who are involved in this are smart,” she said.

On the issue of doping, Moorhouse noted that there hasn’t been a sport-wide doping scandal.

Investigations are triggered by a betting alert, or a positive test for doping, but Moorhouse was keen to say that there is work to be done in gaining intelligence from outside those sources.

She highlighted that match officials, particularly chair umpires, are an important resource in this regard. “They are our eyes and ears on the ground,” she said.

Additionally, she warned that umpires need to be “alive to the risk” that people will try to influence them.

The power to investigate possible corruption includes the ability to take players’ mobile phones and examine the data on it.