Italian Tennis Umpire Banned for Seven and a Half Years

Italian Tennis Umpire Banned for Seven and a Half Years

The US Open is nearly with us and it’ll be another fortnight of Nick Kyrgios and others shouting at umpires. You have to feel sorry for them but what if the umpire was corrupt? It does happen and this week has seen Lorenzo Chiurazzi banned from tennis for seven and a half years.

Chiurazzi is a national level umpire and line judge (Kyrgios doesn’t get on with them either) but he has been banned and fined by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITA). He has to pay a total of $50,000 but of that $33,500 has been suspended.

The ITA investigated a tournament held in Perugia last year. It was alleged that the umpire delayed score inputting and when that did happen, he sometimes put in the wrong score. When the ITA contacted Chiurazzi, he failed to co-operate with the investigation and did not report any corruption that had taken place.

He was found guilty on several charges. It was ruled that he had breached the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program. This included a section that dealt with gambling offences, another that covers the deliberate misrepresentation of scores and also the “direct and indirect contrivance of event outcomes.”

The Italian umpire admitted the charges and no hearing took place as a result of that. His ban runs from 12 August of this year and runs until 11 February 2030. During this time, he will be unable to officiate any tennis event that is sanctioned by a national association or international tennis governing body.

Not just that, he can’t attend them either so will be watching the US Open and other top tournaments on television rather than in person.

This isn’t the only case this year that has seen a national-level umpire find themselves in trouble. July saw Francesco Totaro given a provisional suspension. Alleged match-fixing breaches are ongoing. Also in trouble were three umpires from Tunisia who were given bans for manipulating tennis scores.

Thankfully, there doesn’t seem to be such a problem in the major tennis tournaments. Not that there hasn’t been rumours though with Nikoloz Basilashvili having to deny claims that he had fixed matches.

If it is going to happen in tennis, it is the lower level tournaments where the incidents are likely. Matches featuring lower ranked players can be vulnerable to such behaviour with few people watching the matches that take place. With low amounts to be won at that level, that can make players more likely to accept any possible approaches to fix matches.