One of the stand-out tennis players from Brazil, João Souza, was punished severely by the Tennis Integrity Union, since he was banned from official tennis competitions. The decision was made after a process that had started in 2019, when João Souza was accused of match fixing.
João Souza: From Brazilian number 1 to banned from the sport
There are some cases in sports, where we clearly see the lack of intelligence of professional athletes. João Souza, “o Feijão”, was playing in big tournaments as one of the biggest Brazilian representatives on the international circuit, during a period where the nation hasn’t been very successful in the sport.
João Souza was accused of match fixing, when he was playing a tournament in Mexico.
Since April of last year, Feijão, as he is also known, was prevented of playing in any professional competition, even as a coach, due to evidences that placed him as a suspect on a potential case of corruption within the sport.
João Souza was in the 404th position of the ATP Rankings. However, he had already reached the 69th position in the past, at a time where he was the best ranked Brazilian tennis player.
The curious aspect is that in 2016, João Souza, on an interview, had already admitted he had received some offers to lose some matches and also said that he knew which professional players were taking part on this kind of deals.
Maybe the temptation was too much for him, since he caved into the easy money and slid into the underworld of match fixing.
The player had only been suspended, which allowed him to play while the investigations were underway, but last year, the institution that investigates acts of corruption in tennis reversed the decision and prevented João from playing until the final verdict.
Besides the decision of banning the Brazilian, the highest organ of judgement in world tennis applied a fine of 200 thousand dollars that when converted to the Brazilian currency goes up to 800 000 reais.
Now the question is: Has João Souza received that much money, to the point of being worth it to lose everything he has built in all these years of his career? The greediness and stupidity of people simply blind them.
Money, greed and corruption: the cancer of the sport
They say that where there is money, there is greed and people with bad intentions. Where there are bad people, there are illegal and abominable practices.
João Souza was featured in a true circus, giving in to the underworld of sports’ match fixing and he paid the price for it.
Unfortunately, he isn’t a unique case, because there are plenty of other players that did the same and we have no idea.
The TIU (the entity that punished João Souza) created an investigation system to try and minimize the effects of corruption in the sport, that increased heavily after the proliferation of sports betting and bookmakers on Brazil.
Su castigo provisional se dio a conocer minutos antes de que jugara ante Tomás Barrios en un Challenger en México. pic.twitter.com/0FiCYO8V5i
— Nueva Opinion Deportiva (@nod_okk) January 25, 2020
Obviously, this happens often, with a Brazilian TV network recently reporting a scheme of match fixing in the 4th division of Rio de Janeiro’s footballing state championships.
Just imagine… If on such an obscure competition there is that kind of action, how would a sport that is recognized worldwide, where billions of dollars are invested in betting every year not have this kind of manipulation?
The TIU sent out a report that announces 26 cases of possible corruption in world tennis, including players, coaches and even one umpire.
Still, the entity received about 140 alerts of matches that possibly suffered some sort of external intervention to tamper the final result.
Generally, this kind of action takes place in smaller tournaments and with consequently smaller prizes.
Just like in the lower leagues of football, even semi-professional ones, where players don’t win enough to make a living off of it and are easily enticed by “easy” money.
In tennis, that clearly happens a lot, because it is a sport that is somewhat elitist, where athletes need individual training, since there are a lot of tournaments and the costs with travelling and nutrition are heavily present.
This sport really attracts bettors (and also criminals) because it offers very volatile markets, with the odds changing at every instant, and also due to how easy it is to win money in case you have a deal with the athlete that is involved.
Uma notícia triste, mas que serve de alerta pra muita gente.
Conheço bem o Feijão e fiquei muito triste com tido isso. Treinamos com o mesmo treinador e de maneira alguma vou julgar aqui. Todos me conhecem e sabem… https://t.co/APmZ3dXKhX
— Fernando Meligeni (@meligeni) January 25, 2020
The difficulty of confirming the tampering is precisely due to the several options there are on the encounter, since it is possible to bet on everything like the winner of the match, of the set, of the next point, in under or over the amount of total games, etc.
A lot of accusations can be made, but unfortunately the percentage of people that gets punished will always be suboptimal when compared to what is fair.
The idea is filtering your markets very well, choosing careful what tournaments and athletes we put our money on.
And still, we would practically never find out if we lost because our analysis was wrong, due to bad luck or due to corruption that is established in the sport.