Tennis players suspended for small wagers

Tennis players suspended for small wagers

Tennis players suspended for small wagers
Associated Press

December 23, 2007

ROME -- The ATP suspended Italians Potito Starace and Daniele Bracciali on Saturday for making bets -- some as little as $7 -- on tennis matches involving other players.

The Italian tennis federation denounced the penalties by the governing body as an "injustice," and the players said they have been made scapegoats.

Starace, ranked 31st, was suspended for six weeks and fined $30,000, the Italian federation said. Bracciali, ranked 258th, was banned for three months and fined $20,000. Both suspensions take effect Jan. 1.

The federation said Starace made five bets for a total of $130 two years ago, and Bracciali made about 50 bets of $7 each from 2004 to '05.

"Injustice is done," the statement said. "These penalties are absolutely, excessively severe compared to the magnitude of the violations carried out by the two players."

ATP officials could not be reached for comment.

Concerns about match-fixing have risen since August, when an online betting company reported unusual betting patterns during a match between fourth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko of Russia and Martin Vassallo Arguello of Argentina. The company, Betfair, voided all bets and the ATP has been investigating. Davydenko, who quit while trailing in the third set, denies wrongdoing.

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