Tennis umpire handed lifetime ban for match-fixing

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The charges related to Zeferino manipulating scores inputted into his electronic scoring device at an ITF M15 event in 2020, which facilitated guaranteed wins by bettors on those points.

Zeferino, who was a level two white badge official, admitted to his conduct in an interview with the ITIA and did not contest the charges.

Ruling on the case, independent anti-corruption hearing officer (AHO) Ian Mill QC said that Zeferino should be removed from the sport permanently, meaning he will no longer be able to officiate at tennis events authorised or sanctioned by any international tennis governing body or national association.

The ITIA noted that Zeferino was found to have breached two sections of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP).

These included Section D.1.b of the 2020 TACP, which says that no covered person shall, directly or indirectly, facilitate any other person to wager on the outcome or any other aspect of any event or any other tennis competition.

Zeferino was also ruled to have breached Section D.1.d of the 2020 TACP, which states that individuals must not contrive the outcome, or any other aspect, of any tennis event.

The decision comes after the ITIA this week also confirmed that six Spanish tennis players were banned from the sport after they were convicted of criminal charges relating to match-fixing in the Spanish courts.

Marc Fornell Mestres, who had a career-high ATP ranking of 236, and Jorge Marse Vidri, whose highest ATP ranking was 562, were both issued bans, as were unranked players Carlos Ortega, Jaime Ortega, Marcos Torralbo and Pedro Bernabe Franco.

All six players pleaded guilty to corruption charges and were convicted in Spain as part of a wider case involving organised crime, which remains ongoing.

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