Two tennis players have been banned following match-fixing allegations. GETTY IMAGES

Two tennis players have been banned by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) due to their involvement in corruption associated with a syndicate in Belgium.

The ITIA has handed Alejandro Mendoza Crespo the harshest penalty, imposing a lifetime ban from tennis for 20 violations. In contrast, Jorge Panta Herreros has received a three-year suspension for four infractions. Such penalties were imposed by independent anti-corruption hearing officer Professor Richard McLaren. These decisions followed a formal hearing held in early March, and the suspensions will take effect starting from 4 April.

Mendoza and Panta were additionally fined €231,942 and €9,200, respectively. Both individuals will be prohibited from participating, coaching, or even attending any event sanctioned by ITIA members, which includes the ATP and WTA. In recent developments, Eduardo Agustin Torre received a five-year suspension for 35 violations of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme (TACP). Torre was also subjected to a €32,200 fine.

The ITIA indicated that Mendoza and Panta's suspensions were connected to the recent criminal proceedings in Belgium, where Grigor Sargsyan, the leader of a match-fixing syndicate, received a five-year prison term. Following Sargsyan's sentencing, seven players were banned in November for various durations after being found guilty of breaching the TACP.

The ITIA has banned two tennis players for match-fixing. GETTY IMAGES
The ITIA has banned two tennis players for match-fixing. GETTY IMAGES

Alec Witmeur, Arnaud Graisse, Arthur de Greef, Julien Dubail, Romain Barbosa, Maxime Authom, and Omar Salman were all subjected to suspensions. Earlier this year, there were two more bans related to the Belgium case. Leny Mitjana from France received a 10-year suspension for corruption, while Anis Ghorbel was banned for three years for match-fixing.

With the suspensions of Mendoza and Panta, the total number of players and officials banned in connection with the Belgium case now stands at 25. In April, the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) published its 'Integrity Report' for the first quarter of this year.

The IBIA recorded a total of 56 alerts in Q1, marking a 12% rise compared to the 50 notifications in Q1 of 2023. This figure also represented a notable increase of 64.7% from the final quarter of 2023. Among the alerts, 14 were linked to tennis during the first quarter of the year, showing an increase from the 12 notifications reported during the same period last year.