Argentine tennis player Marco Trungelliti has said match-fixing in professional tennis is like a “free bar” and says he has had to move out of his homeland because he has been dubbed a “snitch”.
ATP Challenger Tour regular Trungelliti, 29, made the claims about the match-fixing gangs in professional tennis in an interview with Argentine newspaper La Nacion.
Earlier this year, the Spanish Civil Guard arrested 15 people on suspicion of fixing professional tennis matches in an international gambling scheme.
And Trungelliti said: “In the [ITF] Futures, the fixing and bets are like a free bar. The gamblers go directly to the players and others go to the coaches. It’s a reality that the prize money in the minor tournaments is low, that often it doesn’t reach a certain level, but there are other legal ways to earn money.
“How? Playing in the interclub tournaments in Europe. It’s true that you miss out on some weeks of the ATP tournaments, but it’s a way of doing it. The temptation to fix a match for those who are ranked 300 or 400 is high. What you’d earn in a month of interclub matches you make in 40 minutes in a fixed match. But that’s not the right path.”
He added: “When they proposed I sold a match I thought: ‘No way, this isn’t for me, I’m not used to these things, I’d live with inhumane guilt.”
The Argentine helped give evidence in the complaint made by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) which then saw a police operation launched and 15 people, including the alleged heads of the criminal organisation, arrested in Spain.
He says that one of the three Argentines sanctioned by the TIU, Federico Coria, Nicolás Kicker and Patricio Heras, claims Trungelliti had given evidence to receive a lower sanction for fixing matches himself, with he denies.
Trungelliti has revealed that he has decided to move away from Argentina as he was being called a “snitch” and is now living in Andorra, saying he “couldn’t stand” living in his native country any more.
Reports state a group of Armenian nationals used a professional tennis player to act as the link between them and the rest of the match-fixing network.
Once the players were bribed, the Armenian nationals would reportedly travel to the matches to make sure the tennis players complied with what had previously been agreed on.
The Armenians allegedly organised for bets to be placed on the matches from different points around the world.
Police believe the gang have been operating since at least February 2017 and have earned millions of euros in the scheme.