x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Punishment fits the crime in Daniel Koellerer case

Clearly, this is no time for relaxed vigilance, not with two players exiled from the game of tennis in the past year.

The squalid Daniel Koellerer business is over, and it must come as a relief in the world of tennis.

The Austrian's lifetime ban was upheld last week by the highest legal body in sports, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The former Davis Cup player had cast a cloud over the game since May, when the Tennis Integrity Unit found him guilty of attempting to fix matches between October 2009 and July 2010, and pronounced the life ban that he unsuccessfully appealed.

The CAS panel wrote that Koellerer "made invitations to other tennis players to fix matches on five occasions … The panel ruled that the tennis governing bodies had met their burden of proof."

A US$100,000 (Dh367,000) fine was, however, struck down; the CAS ruled Koellerer had not benefited financially from his actions.

His highest ranking in the game was No 55, in 2009, when he was said to have first reached out to another player in an attempt to fix a match.

He was the first player to receive a lifetime ban, but not the last; David Savic of Serbia was banned in September.

Clearly, this is no time for relaxed vigilance, not with two players exiled from the game in the past year.

As long as tennis continues to attract gamblers, match-fixing will be a temptation, especially for second-tier players who could reap an illicit payday more lucrative than months of winnings.

Lifetime bans will daunt most, but a risk remains from the reckless few.