Clement reveals match-fixing offer

Updated: 31 October 2007 07:20 IST

French tennis player Arnaud Clement says he has refused money in the past to lose a match, but would not elaborate on Monday.

Clement reveals match-fixing offer

London:

French tennis player Arnaud Clement says he has refused money in the past to lose a match, but would not elaborate on Monday.

"It has happened to me, I won't say where or under what circumstances," Clement said after losing 6-4, 6-3 to Mikhail Youzhny of Russia in the first round of the Paris Masters.

"There was not a fraction of a second's hesitation (to refuse the proposal)."

The 2001 Australian Open finalist feared revealing more about the offer could lead to reprisals against him.

"That's why I don't want to say too much about it," Clement said. "And it's for that reason that I won't mention either the place or how it happened."

Clement thinks lower-ranked players struggling to make an impact may be under more pressure to accept such offers.

"The problem is for a player slightly lower in classification (ranking) or in a certain amount of financial difficulty," he said. "Even if he refuses, this can play on his mind during the match. It can upset him. That's not the case for me. To accept something like that is to betray the sport."

Investigation by Betfair

Clement's confession followed the result of an investigation by online betting exchange Betfair into suspicious betting patterns on a match at last week's ATP St Petersburg Open.

Betfair voided bets on a match in August for the same reason but found nothing wrong with Dmitry Tursunov's win over Boris Pashanski last week.

Tursunov, who ended up reaching the final, trailed Pashanski 6-4, 2-0 in the second round before advancing 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Despite the second-set deficit, there was still money being put on Tursunov to win.

"We investigate, as a matter of course, those markets that we have potential issues with," Betfair spokesman Adrian Murdock said on Monday.

Murdock said the investigation revealed that a specific bettor known to the company continued to back Tursunov. Betfair eventually settled all bets, in part because the unnamed bettor loses more than he wins.

"This guy is a net loser on tennis," Murdock said. "He's such a high volume bettor that it skewed the market a bit."

Tennis has been hounded by match-fixing rumors since Betfair, in an unprecedented move, voided bets on a match in Poland after fourth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko withdrew against 87th-ranked Martin Vassallo Arguello in the third set because of a foot injury. The ATP is still looking into that match.

"It's quite a different scenario to the Davydenko thing," Murdock said of the Tursunov investigation. "We're not really seeing it as a potential match-fixing problem - if there is indeed a problem."

In response to both the Davydenko match and other players speaking out about being approached by outsiders trying to influence a match, the ATP and other tennis governing bodies have been working together to keep the sport clean.

At the Paris Masters, which started on Sunday, local officials are looking out for anything strange.

"You have to be very attentive and very severe," French tennis federation president Christian Bimes said. "I hope there is the same severity shown as for doping."

FFT director general Jean-Francois Vilotte said the police could be called in if there was a questionable match.

"They are the only ones capable of putting together a certain amount of investigative measures that the FFT is unable to do," Vilotte said.

Topics : Tennis Andy Roddick Lukas Dlouhy Rohan Bopanna Leander Paes Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi Maria Sharapova
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