ITIA Press Release, December 2, 2021
The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has today confirmed that former Uzbekistan tennis player (now believed to be based in Kazakhstan) Albina Khabibulina has been banned for life from tennis. The player was found to have breached multiple rules of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP).
The case was ruled on by independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Professor Richard McLaren, O.C. and the sanction means that Ms Khabibulina is permanently prohibited from playing in or attending any tennis event authorised or sanctioned by any international tennis governing body or national association. In addition to the ban, the player has been fined $150,000 USD.
Professor McLaren found that the player was guilty of match fixing, approaching other players to attempt to fix matches, failing to report corrupt approaches and failing to co-operate with the investigation. The player did not contest any charges.
Ms Khabibulina, who had a career highest ITF singles ranking of 492 and highest ITF doubles ranking of 208, was found to have breached on one or more occasions the following TACP rules:
Section D.1.d of the 2017 and 2019 TACP: 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 of the 2017 TACP: 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 of the 2017 TACP: 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.1.b of the 2019 TACP: No Covered Person shall, directly or indirectly, solicit or facilitate any other person to wager on the outcome or any other aspect of any Event or any other tennis competition. For the avoidance of doubt, to solicit or facilitate to wager shall include, but not be limited to: display of live tennis betting odds on a Covered Person website; writing articles for a tennis betting publication or website; conducting personal appearances for a tennis betting company or any other company or entity directly affiliated with a tennis betting company; and appearing in commercials encouraging others to bet on tennis.
Section D.2.a.i of the 2017 and 2019 TACP: 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 [now ITIA] as soon as possible.
Section D.2.a.ii of the 2019 TACP: In the event any Player knows or suspects that any other Covered Person or other individual has committed a Corruption Offense, it shall be the Player’s obligation to report such knowledge or suspicion to the TIU [now ITIA] as soon as possible.
Section F.2.b of the 2020 TACP: All Covered Persons must cooperate fully with investigations conducted by the TIU [now ITIA] including giving evidence at hearings, if requested. Even in the case where a Covered Person is represented by a legal counsel, the Covered Person is still personally responsible for ensuring that they cooperate fully with the investigation. The Covered Person shall be deemed not to have cooperated if the Covered Person’s legal counsel interferes with a TIU [now ITIA] investigation.
The player’s suspension began on 21 November 2021 and she has 20 business days to lodge any appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.