Tennis: Italian pair get life ban for match-fixing

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Potitio Starace (R) and Daniele Bracciali (L). Photo: Michal Cizek/AFP
16:01 CEST+02:00
Italian match-fixing pair Potito Starace and Daniele Bracciali were banned for life on Friday by the Italian Tennis Federation (FIT).

The pair are accused of corruption having fixed matches for financial gain. Bracciali, 37, was also handed a €40,000 ($43,473) fine while Starace, 34, was penalised €20,000.

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

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Although the FIT 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.

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.

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