Three tennis chair umpires from Thailand, Anucha Tongplew, Apisit Promchai and Chitchai Srililai, have been handed life bans following an investigation into their participation in match-fixing during the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures tournaments in 2017. The investigation was carried out by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU). The TIU is the body responsible for looking into matters of corruption in professional tennis, and has the jurisdiction to impose fines, sanctions or bans on umpires and players if they are found to have committed any offenses.
The Futures tournaments organized by the ITF were introduced in the 1990s, with the aim of providing budding young players the opportunity to gain entry into the world of professional tennis. These tournaments last one week usually, and the prize money is between $15,000 and $25,000. More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that rising tennis stars can use these tournaments to earn points that will be part of their Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Rankings, thereby being able to gain entry into the more major tournaments of tennis around the world.
It was reported that the chair umpires admitted to betting and manipulating official results of matches that they were umpiring in. In a statement released by the TIU, the organization said, “They also manipulated scores inputted into the official scoring system, for betting-related purposes and personal profit.” The anti-corruption organization added that the bans were effective immediately, and that the three chair umpires would allowed to officiate or even attend tennis events that were being held by recognized governing bodies of tennis.