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Uzbekistani tennis player has been provisionally suspended from professional tennis

Uzbekistani tennis player Albina Khabibulina has been provisionally suspended from professional tennis by independent Anti-corruption Hearing Officer (AHO) Prof Richard H. McLaren.

As a result, and with effect from 22 November 2019, she is prohibited from competing in or attending any sanctioned tennis event organised or recognised by the governing bodies of the sport.

The provisional suspension relates to an investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit into alleged breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program. The section of the Program relating to the granting of provisional suspensions is as follows:

3. Provisional Suspension.

a. The PTIO may at any time make an application to an AHO for a Provisional Suspension of a Covered Person, including (i) before a Notice has been issued, (ii) before a Hearing or (iii) at any time after a Hearing but prior to the AHO’s issuance of a written Decision. Except as provided in Section G.4.a (in which case a Provisional Suspension is mandatory), a Provisional Suspension may be imposed if the AHO is satisfied on the preponderance of the evidence that at least one of the conditions set out at (i) and (ii) below are met:

 

i. a Covered Person has (i) failed to comply with a Demand or (ii) delayed or obstructed, without reasonable justification, compliance with a Demand or purported to comply with a Demand through the provision of any object or information that has been tampered with, damaged, disabled or otherwise altered from its original state; or

 

ii. (i) there is a likelihood that the Covered Person has committed a Corruption Offense punishable by permanent ineligibility; (ii) in the absence of a Provisional Suspension, the integrity of tennis would be undermined; and (iii) the harm resulting from the absence of a Provisional Suspension outweighs the hardship of the Provisional Suspension on the Covered Person.

 

Ms Khabibulina, 27, is currently ranked 294 in WTA doubles.

The Tennis Integrity Unit is an initiative of the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation, the ATP and the WTA, who are jointly committed to a zero tolerance approach to any form of betting-related corruption in tennis.