10 Aug 2015

Tennis players banned for match-fixing

7:31 am on 10 August 2015

The Italian tennis players Potito Starace and Daniele Bracciali have been banned from the sport for life by the Italian Tennis Federation for match-fixing.

Potito Starace

Potito Starace Photo: p

The pair are accused of corruption having fixed matches for financial gain.

Bracciali, 37, was also handed a $NZ66,200 fine while Starace, 34, was penalised $33,000.

The sanction relates to an investigation conducted by the public prosecutor in Cremona, originally into match-fixing in football, known as 'Calcioscommesse'.

Although the federation tribunal decided to ban the pair, federation president Angelo Binagi said he hoped they would nonetheless one day prove their innocence.

"We can only hope that Bracciali and Starace manage to demonstrate that they haven't committed these serious acts that the tribunal has convicted them of," he said.

Daniele Bracciali playing at the Auckland Open in 2013.

Daniele Bracciali playing at the Auckland Open in 2013. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Both players were provisionally suspended for 40 days in February by FIT.

They had already served short bans - six weeks for Starace and three months for Bracciali - in 2008 over another betting scandal.

Starace is suspected of having thrown his ATP Casablanca final against Spain's Mariano Andujar in 2011 when he lost 6-1 6-2.

Several bets were placed on a quick victory and Starace winning only a few games, despite the fact his record against Andujar at that point was five wins from five.

Investigators say they have text message and 'chat' exchanges that point to possible match-fixing.

The Calcioscommesse scandal has seen numerous footballers and officials banned, including most notably current Italy coach Antonio Conte, who was handed a four-month suspension while he was Juventus boss for events that occurred when he was in charge of Siena.