Tennis Governing Bodies Appoint Jeff Rees as Director of Tennis Integrity Unit and Adopt Uniform Anti-Corruption Code
The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, ATP, International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Grand Slam Committee announced today both the appointment of Jeff Rees as Director of the sport’s newly formed Tennis Integrity Unit and the landmark adoption of a uniform Anti-Corruption Code across the sport. These actions follow a commitment by the game’s governing bodies to implement all 15 recommendations of the independent Environmental Review of Integrity in Professional Tennis report published in May. The report concluded that professional tennis is neither systematically nor institutionally corrupt.
One of the world’s leading sports integrity experts, Rees co-led the comprehensive review of professional tennis integrity begun in January 2008 along with fellow integrity expert Ben Gunn, and co-authored the final report adopted by the sport’s governing bodies. In his role as Director of the Tennis Integrity Unit, Rees will be responsible for development of the unit’s intelligence and investigative strategies as well as the hiring and oversight of core staff. The Unit is a centerpiece of the independent report’s recommendations, and will have global responsibility for the detection and investigation of integrity issues across the sport. In his new role, Rees will report to a committee of four senior executives representing each of the ATP, ITF, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and Grand Slam Committee. The unit will be based in London.
“I am excited to help lead tennis’s efforts to continue to protect the integrity of the sport through a vigorous program that will take our monitoring and investigative practices to a new level,” said Rees. “I am very encouraged by the willingness of the sport’s governing bodies to take bold and proactive initiative in combating this threat to the game.”
The adoption of a single, uniform Anti-Corruption Code that will form one of cores of the sport’s Tennis Anti-Corruption Program represents a significant step towards the implementation of the independent review’s recommendations. The uniform code will ensure that a single set of rules, procedures, penalties and investigative processes applies across all of professional tennis to players, officials, tournament staff, agents, coaches and family members, among others. Under the Code, the most serious corruption offences will be punishable by a lifetime ban from the sport, and those subject to the Code will have a duty to report any information regarding suspected corrupt activities.
Rees served for 32 years as a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police, including within New Scotland Yard’s most prestigious investigative units. He was also the Chief Investigator and General Manager of International Cricket’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit for over seven years.
The comprehensive integrity review led by Rees and Gunn was launched in January 2008, following and complementing work already under way by individual governing bodies to create a common set of integrity rules, procedures and sanctions across the professional tennis industry. Its remit was to identify the nature of potential threats to the integrity of professional tennis; consider the regulatory resources and policies necessary to combat current and foreseeable threats and to report recommendations on next steps for the sport’s governing bodies.
The Review outlined the following recommendations to encourage a more focused anti-corruption culture for the sport, each of which will be implemented by the Grand Slam Committee, ITF, ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour:
- A uniform Anti-Corruption Program to be agreed by the Tennis Authorities;
- An Anti-Corruption Program to focus on ‘prevention’ and ‘detection’ and be supported by an education program which identifies threats to professional tennis and the action to address them;
- The creation of an Integrity Unit;
- The Director of the Integrity Unit to prepare an intelligence strategy; an investigation strategy; and a user requirement for a computer database;
- The current ban on players betting to be reiterated and maintained;
- The current ban on tournament representatives betting to be reiterated and maintained;
- Officials to examine those matches that players take part in over and above those necessary to achieve ranking points;
- A review of current accreditation for all Grand Slam, ITF, ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments;
- Only players and essential tournament personnel to have access to the players’ locker room;
- The term ‘insider information’ to be defined for tennis;
- The creation of an ‘integrity module’ to assess threats and recommendations made in this Review and used for education and awareness;
- A single hearings tribunal for all disciplinary cases involving integrity issues to be established;
- Any player caught cheating to continue to be punished by lengthy suspension, and if appropriate, up to a life ban;
- A coordinated media strategy for integrity issues to be established;
- The Professional Tennis Authorities to consider seeking the support of other sporting bodies for the development of legislation creating income streams from selling sporting rights and/or the creation of a right to bet.
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