MELBOURNE:Australian Open organisers have introduced anti-corruption measures designed to prevent illegal gambling and match-fixing during next month's grand slam tournament.
Tennis Australia on Friday unveiled its anti-corruption policy, which includes a hotline to report alleged corruption, a ban on unauthorised use of laptop computers courtside and enhanced security measures designed to restrict access to players.
The moves follows reports of suspicious betting activity on several overseas matches this year, as well as players claiming they had been approached to throw matches.
TA chief executive Steve Wood said strict sanctions would apply for players and their support staff for breaches of the policy, ranging from fines to life bans.
Offenders could also face prison terms, with offences arising from match-fixing facing a maximum of 15 years' jail under Victorian state law.
"We don't believe our sport has a corruption problem but we do recognise that a threat to the integrity of tennis exists," Wood said.
The January 14-27 Australian Open is the first grand slam tournament to introduce such measures.
Tennis Australia's newly-established Anti-Corruption Commission (TAACC) will be chaired by Brian Collis, QC, and former detective Sal Perna will be its investigative officer.
"We've conducted a thorough analysis of the issue and consulted with a variety of stakeholders, including other sporting organisations, betting agencies and law enforcement," Wood said.