TIU Press Relase, January 25, 2020
Brazilian tennis player Joao Olavo Soares de Souza, who won nine ATP Challenger single titles, has received a lifetime ban together with a fine of $200,000 after being convicted of multiple match-fixing and associated corruption offences.
A Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) investigation established that between 2015 and 2019 the player committed numerous breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP). These included repeated incidents of match-fixing at ATP Challenger and ITF Futures tournaments held in Brazil, Mexico, the United States and Czech Republic.
In addition to match-fixing offences, the player was also found to have:
- failed to report corrupt approaches
- failed to fully co-operate with the TIU, including destroying evidence
- solicited other players to not use best efforts
The case against Mr Souza was considered by independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Prof Richard H. McLaren at a disciplinary Hearing held in London on 14 January 2020.
Prof McLaren’s decision to impose a lifetime ban means that with effect from 24 January 2020 the player is permanently ineligible to compete in or attend any sanctioned event organised or recognised by the governing bodies of the sport.
In March 2019, and prior to being charged with corruption offences, Mr Souza had been Provisionally Suspended from professional tennis, pending completion of the TIU investigation and case against him.
The 31-year old is currently ranked 742 in ATP singles, with a career-high of 69 reached in April 2015. As a doubles player his highest ranking was 70, achieved in January 2013.
The breaches of the TACP he has been found guilty of are as follows:
Section D.1.d. No Covered Person shall, directly or indirectly, contrive or attempt to contrive the outcome or any other aspect of any Event.
Section D.1.e. No Covered Person shall, directly or indirectly, solicit or facilitate any Player to not use his or her best efforts in any Event.
Section D.1.f. No Covered Person shall, directly or indirectly, solicit or accept any money, benefit or Consideration with the intention of negatively influencing a Player’s best efforts in any Event.
Section D.2.a.i. In the event any Player is approached by any person who offers or provides any type of money, benefit or Consideration to a Player to (i) influence the outcome or any other aspect of any Event, or (ii) provide Inside Information, it shall be the Player’s obligation to report such incident to the TIU as soon as possible.
Section F.2.b. All Covered Persons must co-operate fully with investigations conducted by the TIU including giving evidence at hearings, if requested. No Covered Person shall (i)tamper with, damage, disable, destroy or otherwise alter any evidence or other information related to any Corruption Offense or (ii) solicit or facilitate any other person to tamper with, damage, disable, destroy or otherwise alter any evidence or other information related to any Corruption Offense.
The Tennis Integrity Unit is an initiative of the ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slam Board, who are jointly committed to a zero tolerance approach to betting-related corruption in professional tennis.