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ATP findings in gambling probe of Starace, Bracciali confirmed

ATP findings in gambling probe of Starace, Bracciali confirmed

The ATP's independent anti-corruption officer confirmed Thursday that Italy's top player Potito Starace and countryman Daniele Bracciali bet on tennis matches in violation of the men's tour's regulations.
Starace, ranked 31st, was suspended for six weeks and fined US$30,000 (euro20,665). Bracciali, ranked 258th, was banned for three months and fined US$20,000 (euro13,775). Both suspensions begin Dec. 31.
"An ATP investigation launched in August 2007 found that Mr. Starace had wagered on tennis matches during a period dating from 21 February 2006 through 23 May 2006," the ATP said in a statement Thursday.
Bracciali, also Italian, "had wagered on tennis matches during a period dating from 17 May 2004 through 24 January 2005."
The Italian tennis federation criticized the penalties last week, calling them an "injustice."
Starace made five bets for a total of US$130 (euro90), the Italian federation said, and Bracciali made about 50 bets of US$7 (euro4.8). It said the matches involved other players and both Starace and Bracciali were not aware of the ATP's betting regulations at the time.
The ATP defended its decision.
"Not knowing the rules is not an excuse," Gayle David Bradshaw, the ATP's executive vice president for rules and competition, said Thursday. "Everyone connected to the ATP Tour has a duty to understand and respect the rules, especially those designed to protect the integrity of our sport."