SANTIAGO – Chilean tennis players and politicians are involved in match-fixing, Canal 13 broadcaster reported. The betting ring is said to have fixed matches and other outcomes to generate huge sums of money. Players were threatened to participate by what is called “the betting mafia.”
Fixed bets in sports is something we have regrettably heard a lot about in the last few years. Whether in soccer, boxing or horse racing: no sport seems to have escaped accusations. Over the last couple of years, tennis has also made headlines with match-fixing scandals.
Last year, Argentine tennis player Marco Trungelliti became key witness in a match-fixing probe in his country. Trungelliti became a whistleblower and gave important information about syndicates who operate around the world, including in the important ATP tournaments. Despite his testimony, he felt actions fell short afterwards.
In January, over 100 tennis players in France and Belgium were accused of taking thousands of dollars to fix matches, and in Spain the police busted a match-fixing ring that allegedly involved around 30 professional players.
Also In Chile
Although tennis players in Chile were not implicated so far, a Canal 13 report showed differently. According to the television channel, Chilean tennis players form part of a global network that fixes matches and bets. Even more remarkable is the involvement of a Chilean politician: Camilo Pérez, from the left-wing Democratic Revolution (RD) party, who appears as the fixer for the bets in Chile.
According to the story, the network approached players to make sure they lose a set, a game or even a serve at a certain point. Participants in the betting network put huge sums of money on these outcomes and won even larger sums.
The betting network targeted mostly matches between low-profile players, but reportedly also fixed some matches at Chile’s most important tennis competition, the Santiago Challenger Tournament.
Players Participate Out Of Financial Difficulties
For tennis players, especially those playing at lower levels, it is difficult to turn down offers from fixers. Starting players often find themselves in financial hard times and looking for sponsors to continue their pursuit to success.
Tennis players who turned down offers, reported having received anonymous threats.
The betting scandal in Chilean (and global) tennis goes further than the sport. According to the Canal 13 report, Camilo Pérez, a former tennis coach who recently became a student coordinator of Democratic Revolution party, approached tennis players through message service Telegram and offered them money if they participated. “It is not necessary to lose. You can bet on a set, or even if your opponent breaks a serve game,” he wrote in one message.
Although Pérez’s role is still being investigated, his party already demanded his resignation.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and made appearances on BBC World Services and ABC News during major events in Chile.