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ATP suspends 2 Italian players for gambling, Italian federation says

ATP suspends 2 Italian players for gambling, Italian federation says

The ATP has suspended top Italian player Potito Starace and countryman Daniele Bracciali for betting on tennis matches.
The 31st-ranked Starace was suspended for six weeks and ordered to pay a euro20,800 (US$30,000) fine, the Italian tennis federation said Saturday in a statement. Bracciali, ranked 258th, was banned for three months and fined euro14,000 (US$20,000). Both suspensions are effective Jan. 1.
The Italian federation said Starace made five bets for a total of euro90 (US$130) two years ago, while Bracciali made some 50 bets of euro5 (US$7) each from 2004-05. It denounced the penalties as disproportionate, saying the players never bet on their own matches.
"Injustice is done," the statement said. "These penalties are absolutely, excessively severe compared to the magnitude of the violations carried out by the two players."
The federation said the two were not aware of the ATP's betting regulations, and that they stopped placing the bets as soon as they learned it was against the rules.
Another Italian player, Alessio Di Mauro, became the first player sanctioned under the ATP's new anti-corruption rules when he received a nine-month ban in November, also for betting on matches.
Starace and Bracciali said they were scapegoats for a larger match-fixing scandal.
"It's disgusting," said Starace, 26. "The ATP doesn't know where to turn. It's all a joke."
Bracciali, 29, said the two had been "sacrificed."
"That's why they came after us," Bracciali said. "We are not champions and we don't count in the upper echelons."
ATP officials could not be reached for comment on Saturday.
Concerns about match-fixing have risen since August, when an online betting company reported unusual betting patterns during a match between fourth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko of Russia and Martin Vassallo Arguello of Argentina. The company, Betfair, voided all bets and the ATP has been investigating.
Davydenko, who retired while trailing in the third set, denies wrongdoing.
Since then, several players have said that they had been approached with offers to fix matches in exchange for money.


Updated : 2021-05-06 21:31 GMT+08:00