Bulgarian tennis players receive bans for integrity violations

Photo of a tennis player's hand about to serve the ball

Photo of a tennis player's hand about to serve the ballThe global tennis community has been dealing with a match-fixing scandal that has already accused over 130 individuals, from players to officials, of being involved. Not even the French Open has been immune from the fraudulent activity, and the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) has had its hands full getting to the bottom of a wide-reaching investigation. The TIU has now taken action against two Bulgarian players, both brothers, for their participation, convicting them of several corruption offenses.

Karen and Yuri Khachatryan are now going to take some time off from tennis and will have to break out the wallets to provide compensation for their errant activities. Karen has been banned for life from tennis and will have to pay $250,000, while brother Yuri received a ten-year ban and has to cough up $50,000. The bans and fines follow a little more than a month after unranked Spanish player Gerard Joseph Platero Rodriguez was hit with a four-year ban, including a six-month suspended sentence, and a $15,000 fine.

Karen is said to have violated the Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme (TACP) on a number of occasions, including five instances of match-fixing and nine of soliciting other players to throw matches, as well as continuously attempting to impede the TIU’s investigation. Yuri also violated the TACP by attempting to solicit players to rig matches, lack of cooperation with the investigation, tampering with evidence and providing false information, gambling on matches and assisting others so they could gamble on matches. 

The TACP specifically prohibits certain gambling-related activity, including the “[solicitation] or [facilitation] any other person to wager” and the “attempt to contrive the outcome” of a match. Players, officials, coaches and virtually anyone tied to the sport are prohibited from gambling on tennis matches and from offering money or incentives to a player in order to get them to help fix a game. The TACP also requires that those in the tennis ecosystem cooperate in investigations, and the Khachatryans’ efforts to derail the investigation has now cost them all the work they put into tennis.

Neither player was ranked internationally, but any chances of moving up are now shot. 26-year-old Karen has been playing since 2012 and has a win/loss record of 5/19, according to Tennis Explorer. Younger brother Yuri, at 20 years old, is said to have begun his career in 2016, and has a record of 13/38. The last time either of the two played was last year.