Tennis coach banned for life after being found guilty of 64 offences of match fixing

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Chilean tennis coach Sebastian Rivera has been handed a lifetime ban from the sport after being found guilty of a record-breaking 64 match-fixing offences. The 36-year-old, who achieved a career-best ranking of 705 during his playing days, was also given a fine in excess of £220,000 by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) after a guilty verdict was reached on Thursday.

Rivera had been provisionally suspended in June while the charges against him were investigated but has since received a life ban from coaching, playing and attending any events sanctioned by the ATP or the sport’s other governing bodies. The news was confirmed on Thursday by the ITIA, who also claimed that Rivera had ‘failed to engage meaningfully with the disciplinary process’.

“The International Tennis Integrity Agency has confirmed that Sebastián Rivera, a Chilean tennis coach and former player, has been banned from the sport for life after being found guilty of 64 match fixing offences, the highest number ever detected for a player by the ITIA or its predecessor the Tennis Integrity Unit,” the statement reads.

“The case was ruled on by Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Jane Mulcahy QC and in addition to the ban, Rivera has also been fined $250,000. The sanction means Rivera is permanently prohibited from coaching at, playing in or attending any tennis event authorised or sanctioned by the governing bodies of tennis.”

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Rivera was found to have breached a number of rules including soliciting others to wager on the outcome of matches, attempting to contrive the outcome of a match, accepting money with the intention to negatively influence a player’s best efforts and offering money with the intention of negatively influencing a player’s best efforts. He became a coach after the end of his playing career in 2017, when he made his final tournament appearance in the Tunisia F21 doubles.

The news of Rivera’s lifetime ban comes a month after umpire Lorenzo Chiurazzi was suspended for seven years and six months after admitting to charges of match-fixing in Italy. The latter’s offences were committed at a tournament in Perugia in 2021, during which he was found to have incorrectly scored at least one match by inputting the wrong numbers into his scoring device.

The ITIA also handed down bans to six players back in May for their involvement in a match-fixing scandal after an investigation that spanned half a decade. The lightest suspension was a ban of seven-and-a-half years, while the offender with the heaviest punishment was blocked from playing for 22 years and six months and hit with a £220,000 fine.

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Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, has previously revealed that he was offered a six-figure sum to lose a first-round match at the St Petersburg Open back in 2007 but did not consider the possibility of taking the money in exchange for throwing the result.

“I was approached through people that were working with me at that time, that were with my team,” said Djokovic in 2016. “Of course, we threw it away right away.

“It didn’t even get to me, the guy that was trying to talk to me, he didn’t even get to me directly. There was nothing out of it. Unfortunately there were some, in those times, those days, rumours, some talks, some people were going around. They were dealt with.”

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