Feb 12, 2016, 10:33:23 PM

The terms of reference announced for the Independent Review Panel announced during the Australian Open.

The day the Australian Open started allegations of match-fixing in tennis surfaced following a so-called investigation by BBC and the tabloid news service Buzzfeed. There is nothing like timing!

The report threw suspicions out all over the place and provided no hard evidence. Nada. Nothing. Zippo. 

It was disappointing to see the BBC, which has such a strong reputation of coming up with facts and detail, getting into bed with an organization such as Buzzfeed which has more of a reputation of surprising people in the entertainment industry. Maybe they should stick to following the Kardashians and Justin Bieber which is more to what Buzzfeed would understand.

But still, tennis authorities got on the front foot and announced the creation of an Independent Review Panel for the Tennis Integrity Unit which was formed in 2008.

The Terms of Reference and Protocols for the Independent Review of Integrity in Tennis has now been announced in a combined statement with all the global governing bodies in tennis.

The Independent Review Panel (IRP), established in the Terms of Reference and Protocols, will investigate thoroughly the allegations of corruption in international professional tennis and the effectiveness of existing anti-corruption practices and procedures. 

The IRP will examine the effectiveness and appropriateness of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme (TACP), the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) and the Tennis Integrity Protection Programme (TIPP) and recommend any suggested changes.

The IRP will have wide powers including the right to require the production of documents, the right to carry out interviews and to appoint experts, as it considers appropriate. 

In carrying out the Independent Review, the IRP will engage with all relevant parties. This will not be limited to the stakeholders in tennis and will extend to bodies outside of tennis, including international and state bodies, law enforcement agencies, betting operators and other relevant organisations. 

While there is no fixed deadline for the IRP to complete its audit, it is expected that the full review will take at least twelve months with the publication of an interim report during that time.

Following the publication of the interim report, there will be a consultation process, through which the stakeholders in tennis, other relevant parties and the public will be able to submit comments on the interim report for consideration by the IRP. Following this consultation process, the IRP will produce a final report. The governing bodies of international tennis will publish this document and have committed to fund and implement all of the IRP’s recommendations.

The IRP to be led by Adam Lewis QC, will include another two members who will be confirmed by the end of February.