Spanish authorities have detained 34 people, including six tennis players, involved in a tennis match-fixing network that made more than half-a-million dollars from lower-tier tournaments in Spain and Portugal.
Police said, on Thursday, that Operation Futures probed several Futures and Challenger tournaments in Iberia for the past several months and found evidence that results were rigged.
The tennis players were not identified, but authorities said they were ranked between 800 and 1,200 in the world. Their Spanish rankings ranged between 30 and 300.
Police said they found evidence of match-fixing attempts in 17 men’s tournaments in five cities, including Madrid, Seville and Porto.
Authorities said the two alleged leaders of the network were among those detained across 12 Spanish cities. The leaders were based in Seville and La Coruna. All those detained were Spaniards and are expected to remain free pending trial. If convicted of corruption in sports, they could face prison sentences of up to four years.
The investigation began after a tip given by a player to the Tennis Integrity Unit, the sport’s anti-corruption body.
Authorities took the case forward after noticing an unusual amount of online bets related to the suspected tournaments.
The network allegedly used instant-messaging groups and social media to attract online betters who would pay for the information about rigged results.