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January 27, 2016

Chris Kermode

Philip Brook

David Haggerty

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

THE MODERATOR: Good morning, everyone. Please can I introduce three of the four members of the Tennis Integrity Board. Chris Kermode, ATP chairman. David Haggerty, ITF president. And Philip Brook, chairman of Wimbledon and of the Tennis Integrity Board. Unfortunately the fourth member of the board, Steve Simon, the WTA CEO, is unable to be here today.

For those that don't know, the Tennis Integrity Board has a rotating chairman that changes annually. Philip Brook will read a short statement, then we will be taking questions from the media.

PHILIP BROOK: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Today the chairman and chief executives of tennis' governing bodies has announced an independent review of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program, including the Tennis Integrity Unit, headed by Adam Lewis QC, aimed at further safeguarding the integrity of the game.

Adam Lewis is recognized as the leading expert on sports law at the London bar and internationally.

This is an important decision which has been taken with the full backing of tennis' leadership. The results of the review will be published, and tennis has committed to implement all of the recommendations of the review and to fund them in full.

I'd like to say a few more words by way of background.

Tennis came together in 2008 and implemented the environmental review that brought about the creation of tennis' Anti-Corruption Program and the Tennis Integrity Unit, making tennis the third major sport to do so.

Since 2008, over $14 million has been invested in protecting the integrity of our sport, and 18 individuals have been convicted of corruption offenses, including the life ban of five players and one official.

10 days ago the work of the Tennis Integrity Unit was called into question by an investigatory BBC program. And while the program did not reveal anything new, it was widely written about and has caused damage to our sport.

It is vital that we repair this damage and that we do so quickly, which is why today we're announcing an independent review that will examine all aspects of tennis' Anti-Corruption Program, including the Tennis Integrity Unit's work, which will make recommendations for change.

We are determined to do everything we need to do to remove corruption from our sport, hence the announcement of this independent review and our commitment today to implement all of the recommendations of the review, and to fund them in full.

CHRIS KERMODE: I would just like to add a few words to that.

Here is the good news. I promise that this will be a longer press conference than the one we had last week, so we are here to answer any questions that you'd like to throw.

Let me just say that it is unprecedented that the seven stakeholders of tennis have come together so quickly with one purpose, and that's with the sole aim to restore public confidence in our sport.

All of us, all seven bodies in our sport, believe that with everything in the news and the serious allegations that have been thrown at our sport, that the last thing anyone wants is another sports body investigating itself, which is why we have taken this very bold step to commission a completely independent review.

Let me echo what Philip said. This will be an open review. Nothing is off the table. Adam Lewis QC and the review panel can look at anything. They can talk to anyone, investigate anything.

The four important points are: there is no deadline to this review, it will take as long as it is needed; it will cost what it costs; the results will be made public and will be published; and the most important point is we have committed to act on every recommendation.

We do have a great sport. There have been record crowds here at the Australian Open, and at all the Grand Slams, the ATP events, the WTA events around the world. We have the best generation of players I've ever seen. Tennis is one of and if not the best sports entertainment products in the world. We are leaders in integrity and we aim to keep it that way.

I will now open it up to any questions that anyone has.

Q. Is this the biggest crisis the sport has to deal with in recent times?
PHILIP BROOK: Is it the biggest crisis? I would say certainly the events of the last 10 days have caused damage to our sport. There is no getting away from that. We remain totally confident in the work of the Tennis Integrity Unit.

However, we do think it is really important that we conduct this independent review in order that all of you and everybody who loves our sport and watches our sport can have the knowledge and the comfort that an independent review has taken place and that we are doing all we can do to make sure the integrity of the sport is maintained.

Q. Has the sport been too tardy to react to not just recent developments but the saga more broadly?
PHILIP BROOK: We don't know what Mr. Lewis will come up with as he hasn't started his work.

I think the Tennis Integrity Unit has done very good work over the last seven years. We have a lot of confidence in the team there. I think what the events of the last few days have shown us, however, is that we are in a changed world. Sport is under the microscope more and more. The integrity of sport in general is under the microscope. We have to reassure everybody in our sport, watching our sport, that integrity is absolutely at the top of our pile of things to do.

Q. Do you say basically at this stage you believe it's a perception problem rather than an actual problem?
PHILIP BROOK: Yes. I think most of the problem has been caused, I think, by events 10 days ago. I'm repeating myself, but we have a lot of belief in the work of the Tennis Integrity Unit. You see the outcome of some of it. We have to repair the damage that's been done.

But we also recognize that we can improve. Every organization can improve. We must ask for an independent review to help us with looking from the outside at what we do and to see how and in what way the unit can be strengthened.

CHRIS KERMODE: It's key to point out that it was the Tennis Integrity Unit that was formed in 2008 to address the issue of potential risk of corruption in the sport. In its time, it has made 18 convictions with six life bans.

I think we do have faith in the Tennis Integrity Unit. We do believe in it. But I think now we need to make a very public statement to review that and get someone independent to have a look.

Q. Is there anything in particular that you think has tipped you towards doing this, anything in the past week or fortnight that's helped to reach this point?
CHRIS KERMODE: I do. I think we all agree there were very, very serious allegations. It has caused damage to the sport, which is why we've acted so quickly and made decisions. Every single decision of this group, seven bodies that have come together, there is a unanimous verdict that we have to do an independent review. It was probably the biggest time the sport has come together in terms of appointing Adam Lewis QC.

I think we had to act quickly. We're in a toxic environment for sport at the moment in terms of it's an easy target for people to have a go with recent allegations at other governing bodies. We want to be as open and transparent as possible to demonstrate that we will look at this thoroughly.

There is a zero, zero tolerance for this in our game. But let's review and see how we can move forward better.

Q. Are you expecting any nasty stuff to come out of this that isn't public at the moment?
CHRIS KERMODE: I mean, it's too early to tell. That's why we want to be as open and transparent as possible. If there is, we'll find out.

Hopefully that's not the case.

DAVID HAGGERTY: We would rather have facts than speculation, so whatever we learn will only help us be better.

Q. You mention the problem is one of perception mainly. Isn't it true that the landscape has changed quite a lot since 2008, particularly with the expansion of online betting, a much bigger beast than what it was, and maybe the benefit of this report is that it highlights the report that the Tennis Integrity Unit needs to develop and has lagged a bit behind the curve like that?
CHRIS KERMODE: I don't think it automatically means we're behind the curve. I think it has provided an opportunity to take a look. As you said quite rightly, the landscape has changed. We're in a different world. This is clearly the time to have a look.

Q. To point out a different aspect. I don't know if the ATP or the WTA are interested in maybe those players who are on a blacklist. Are you going to take legal actions against that, because that has not been proved yet or not?
CHRIS KERMODE: The difficulty this last week has produced, I've seen more lists in the last week of various names and matches.

It's important to point out that having lists, which are mainly compiled by suspicious betting patterns, do not mean corruption. They are a red flag and they are investigated.

Personally I think it's sort of irresponsible for anyone to publish names, verging on libel. We believe that any player, until they are proven guilty, should be allowed to play and shouldn't have their reputation damaged at all.

As I said, the lists purely come from irregular betting patterns, and that is not evidence.

Q. How much of it, at the lower levels, is at the expense of tennis, and creates temptation to be tempted to fix?
DAVID HAGGERTY: If I might answer that.

Really we have a moral compass issue. I don't think we can argue that the amount of money that someone will be corrupt at. I just think someone is corrupt or they're not. There have been increases in prize money at the lower levels, which will be increased over the next couple of years. Again, I think it's a moral compass issue, someone is corrupt at whatever level or they're not.

PHILIP BROOK: Another important aspect of the Tennis Integrity Unit's work, an area where we'll ask in the review to look again at, is to look at the education. We think the education is so important. These are young people, many teens coming into the sport. They are more easily influenced potentially than older people.

The education program that we have in place is very important in terms of making sure that these young people can begin to understand what can happen in the wide world out there.

CHRIS KERMODE: I'll reinforce that. I completely agree with Philip. Education is a key. A year ago on the ATP we started educating at the challenger level because we have the ATP University where players are taught about a whole list of aspects of entering professional life. These are players normally in their 20s. A year ago we started talking to players 15 and 16. This topic is one of those things that is discussed.

Q. Chris, if the independent review panel comes back and suggests it needs to be looked at, these games that have been cleared in the past, will you take that consideration seriously?
CHRIS KERMODE: Absolutely. We will act on anything that comes out of this recommendation.

Q. How is the completely independent review being funded? Where will the review be based? Besides sports law, what else can you tell us about Adam Lewis' CV? Has he ever worked on a tennis matter?
DAVID HAGGERTY: Certainly Adam has a very fine record. He's been in sport in many different areas. This is going to be funded by the Tennis Integrity Board, fully supported. As was said, all the findings will be implemented.

Adam, as the independent review panel person, will get the resources that he needs and the people that he needs to help him do a thorough investigation, or review I should say, of everything that he should.

PHILIP BROOK: He's based in London. I'm sure you can find his CV online. But I'll just read you a very short section.

Adam Lewis continues to be ranked as the only star individual in this area, talking about sport, and he's said to be a name synonymous with the sports bar. Adam Lewis QC brings his substantial public competition and EU law expertise to the most contentious and high-profile sports matters. He's possibly the only barrister in the country who has a single focus on sports law.

He has an encyclopedic knowledge of sports law jurisprudence. He is one of the foremost authorities in the area and is a compelling advocate.

As it suggests here, he has worked very extensively throughout his career in sport. As part of the process of choosing Mr. Lewis, we did go through a process. We had a handful of QCs who we thought could do a good job. We spoke with each of them over the last couple of days. Adam Lewis came out as our preferred choice.

CHRIS KERMODE: There will be a panel. He'll be supported by two other people. That's mainly because most sports are fairly domestic. Tennis is one of the true global sports products. He will need resources and help in Europe, in the States, and in Asia.

Q. Philip, do you think the BBC and BuzzFeed were right to publish the findings of their investigation in the manner in which they did?
PHILIP BROOK: Speaking as the current chairman of the Tennis Integrity Board, I was disappointed in the program. As I said in my opening remarks, I don't think we felt that it revealed anything new.

Q. The mixed doubles match over the weekend that was reviewed in the New York Times, is the Tennis Integrity Unit investigating that?
DAVID HAGGERTY: I think as was reported in the press by the players, immediately after the match, the TIU unit contacted them and an investigation may be going on. We can't comment on that at this time.

Q. You're talking about an open-ended review, whatever funding is needed. Is there a benefit to putting a time period on this so we're seeing some kind of results and analysis?
CHRIS KERMODE: We will be asking for an interim report quite quickly so we can take some quick steps from his recommendations.

But I think if you start putting in deadlines, we want this to be thorough, and we want it to be open, we want it to be transparent so that we can actually sort of end this conversation.

PHILIP BROOK: I think we all would like it to be as quick as it can be, given all of that.

Q. You said the report didn't reveal anything new to you. Just wondering with that in mind, if this independent look into the sport was ever considered before this report. Was having someone independently go through how you're doing on this issue, was that in the works before the BBC report or not?
PHILIP BROOK: It was not. It was not. I don't believe it did reveal anything new. But I think the program was aired. It was very widely written about. It has changed the environment. We are very determined to make sure that we demonstrate to all of you today and to everybody around the world that we take this matter very seriously and that the integrity of our sport is paramount.

Q. Philip, you made a statement about perception. Given that, what do you make of the fact that one of the major sponsors of this tournament is a betting company? Is that a bad look?
PHILIP BROOK: It's currently allowed under the rules of the tennis Anti-Corruption Program. The Australian Open are not in breach of anything that currently is within the rules.

I think it will be a question for Mr. Lewis and the review panel to look at. I think one or two players made comments about they didn't understand the relationship. I think it's one of the things we would expect the review to take a good look at.

Q. Perception-wise, is it a bad look?
PHILIP BROOK: I think it's one of the things that the review will take a look at.

Q. Will Adam Lewis be recommending penalties if he finds evidence of wrongdoing, or will he leave that up to people in your positions?
CHRIS KERMODE: In terms of sort of individual investigations, let's just be clear, his role is to actually look at the whole governance, the structure. Out of that will come a series of recommendations which we will follow.

Q. He might suggest something to the Tennis Integrity Unit?

Q. Speaking of the perception, were you disappointed there's no action going to be taken against Nick Kyrgios who answered a phone on court before the game, but answered the phone? Are you disappointed there's going to be no action taken?
PHILIP BROOK: Sorry, I wasn't aware of that particular incident.

DAVID HAGGERTY: Again, not sure if that's a tennis integrity question or not. I'm sure it will be looked into in due course.

Q. I suppose it's the look of it. We're investigating all of that stuff about match fixing...
CHRIS KERMODE: I think that's a perfect example of things that will come out of this review.

Q. At the moment you don't see mobile phones as an issue at this stage used courtside?
CHRIS KERMODE: Again, I think it's something that's going to have to be looked at. Anything on a perception level that looks like it's helping any sort of form of corruption, yeah, will have to end.

Q. You met yesterday. Can I ask how long the actual meeting lasted? Were there any contentious issues? The thing about the Tennis Integrity Unit, it's always been attempted to be deeply undercover. The word 'transparency' keeps coming out here now. Is that kind of incongruous?
CHRIS KERMODE: First thing is, we've been meeting for a long time, over the past week. As I said, it really has brought the sport together. In all the time there has not been a contentious issue. I can tell you it's been really, really good meetings.

I think we do believe in the Tennis Integrity Unit, but we also believe that what's come out of this is we do have to do a better job of communicating, educating, and a degree of transparency, whilst keeping individual investigation, for obvious reasons, confidential.

PHILIP BROOK: That's one of our expectations that we look for coming out of the of review, is how can we be more transparent while protecting the investigative work that the team undertake.

For example, should we publish an annual report? That would be a great question. We don't currently. Maybe we should.

Q. Chris, last week when the BBC report came out, you very much said you did not believe there was widespread corruption within tennis. You expressed complete confidence in the TIU. You said a lot of the claims in the report were historical. Do you not think with the timing of this announcement today, it will be seen perhaps as an admission there is actually more of a problem than was maybe admitted last week?
CHRIS KERMODE: No, not at all. I don't. I mean, the intention of doing this is to be really, really proactive and take this head on.

If we sat back and had done nothing, we would have been accused that sport again is being complacent. We don't want to be complacent. We want to be constantly vigilant. I think this is a very bold step. We need to address the perception, public confidence, hit it head on. We don't have anything to hide at all.

But you don't need another sports administrator standing up here and telling you that. In light of what's happened over the past year with other sports governing bodies, we don't want to be another sports administrator doing that. Let's get someone independent in and we'll take it from there.

PHILIP BROOK: To add to that, the commitment today to implement all of the recommendations of the review is a really, really important point. I can't stress it enough in terms of demonstrating our commitment to do whatever it takes and also to pay for it.

CHRIS KERMODE: It's almost unprecedented, that.

Q. Chris, do you feel the fact that the Grand Slam singles champion by the BuzzFeed report turned out to be Lleyton Hewitt undermines the credibility of the whole piece?
CHRIS KERMODE: Again, I don't want to get into undermining anyone's journalism or how this investigative report came out. I think clearly that speaks volumes. Lleyton Hewitt, as we all know, is one of the greatest competitors of all time. I'm not sure he'd give his mother one point when he was playing.

However, that can't just stand alone. Again, we've had examples of other great sportsmen where everyone's refuted that there has been any wrongdoing. We need to go out and prove it.

What I don't like is names are attached based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever. I think it's deeply unfair, deeply damaging to the players.

Q. Are you happy with the Tennis Integrity Unit's powers of access? Will that be part of Adam Lewis' remit, to see that you have the clout to be able to investigate every allegation?

Q. You mentioned that suspicious gambling on a match is not proof of any wrongdoing. Could you see a world where it might not be your preferred option, but that's part of the sport, and it's sort of something that happens from time to time, and there's suspicions, but they're investigated and nothing happens of it, suspicious gambling remains? Could you see that is just part of the scene from here on?
CHRIS KERMODE: I think it's always been the case. It's not just in tennis. It's in other sports that this happens.

By the way, I'm not diminishing or putting down the importance of any information. So suspicious betting patterns, irregular betting patterns, are just part of numerous bits of information you need. But you do need to tie it into evidence.

PHILIP BROOK: They are clues, I think. I think that's a good way of looking at it.

Q. Before the past 10 days, did you believe that the transparency and the independence of the TIU was sufficient?

DAVID HAGGERTY: We believe very much in the TIU and the great work that the TIU is doing. We think this review will help us in being even better and strengthen the program we have.

Q. As far as what we in the media and the people in the public know?
CHRIS KERMODE: I think there's definitely been a communication issue, a problem, that we do need to do a much better job in explaining the work of the Tennis Integrity Unit, how they go about their business, without revealing the names of cases, yes.

Q. You also say there's legislation to get an offense to match fixing. Why do you say to that? How important is that worldwide?
PHILIP BROOK: I think we feel it is important. It is a criminal offense in certain parts of the world and not in others. Having the help and the opportunity to work with the police in a country we think is a really important part of the powers that the Anti-Corruption Program could do with.

It certainly helps us in those countries where it is possible to work with the authorities.

Q. Are there any particular areas where it is not technically illegal where it should be?
PHILIP BROOK: I think what we're saying is where we can work with the police, it works really well. It isn't the case all around the world. We put it out there to say, Is it possible for this to be relooked at in order not to help just tennis, but sport in general? This is not just a tennis issue.

DAVID HAGGERTY: It would help make the whole program more robust, no doubt about it.

Q. It's plagued the Australian Open since day one. What conversations have been held with Australian Open officials? This will keep the topic around for another couple of days. That's nearly entirely the two-week Australian Open.
CHRIS KERMODE: It has been hard on the Australian Open, no question about it. Obviously the report was timed to hit at this point, to try and create as big a story as possible.

But they've been unbelievably supportive of the actions we've taken. They're fully behind this. They agree we had to hit this head on now even though it was during the championships.

PHILIP BROOK: That's a very good point. Even though we're here today, until leaving this until after Sunday I think demonstrates the importance and the urgency, demonstrates to all of you how seriously we take this. We wanted to act quickly and tell you all about it.

Tennis Australia have been 100% behind the decision to hold this media conference today.

Q. Can I ask why they haven't been involved in this media conference?
PHILIP BROOK: I represent all four Grand Slams on the Tennis Integrity Board. That's why I'm here and Tennis Australia aren't.

Q. If QC Lewis starts to investigate and realizes he needs an expert to come in to really give him advice on this instant electronic age that has changed everything, also electronic instant scorekeeping at all levels of the game, will he have the leeway to bring in, if he has a void in expertise in sports law, an expert on how electronics affects a sport now?

PHILIP BROOK: Yes, totally. That conversation has actually already started with him.

Q. Chris, you were talking about how you feel like this is an unprecedented reaction to something that has gone on before. Is there a greater reflection that perhaps the tennis bodies need to work more closely together on a year-round basis? We see all the logos behind you guys. There's a lot of moving pieces.
CHRIS KERMODE: Funny enough, the timing is very good. Even before this, at the end of last year, we actually started this process of all of us meeting together, the ITF, WTA, ATP, the four slams are sitting in a room now. There is really constructive dialogue between all of us. Actually we were meant to be having another big meeting here. Unfortunately it's been taken away by this issue.

We're going to meet again in Miami. This will be ongoing. We'll meet four times a year, yeah.

Q. It was brought up earlier about how things have grown or changed since online betting has grown quite a bit. What would you think about just trying to clamp down on the actual betting and try to make it more illegal for people to bet rather than focus on the players?
PHILIP BROOK: I think it's an interesting question. I think there are parts of the world, France is a good example, where in-play betting is illegal. There are also ways for the French authorities to lock down the use of offshore betting through the Internet. So they have quite an interesting model I think in terms of trying to protect the integrity of sport.

For sure, this review will be looking at models elsewhere in the world to see how they deal with this issue.

CHRIS KERMODE: It is a good question, but it is a global issue. Culturally the view of betting is so different in various parts of the world, so...

Q. Do you think one of the biggest problems is how complex has become the betting in tennis? You can bet on the number of games, even the number of aces, not only the result. Would this be a question to be addressed?
PHILIP BROOK: I think it would be a question to be addressed, yes. It's something like 68 different bets are possible on a tennis match. More than half of them are in-play. That, therefore, raises and enhances the possibility for people to organize things that are harder to spot.

Q. Are you expecting a response from the players? I'm sure they're a fabulous resource for information. Will you be going down that line?
CHRIS KERMODE: In terms of?

Q. Well, calling on the players to be proactive in cleaning up the sport.
CHRIS KERMODE: All the players I've spoken to during the week. Firstly, every player is obliged any information that they hear, they have to report to the Tennis Integrity Unit, which they do, and everything is investigated that comes from a player.

All the players that I've spoken to this week are very concerned. Some are very angry about the story because they do believe in the integrity of the sport. They're taking it quite personally. It's their image and reputation that's on the line, so they are fully supportive of anything we do and actually want this to happen.

PHILIP BROOK: I think it's also fair to say that the players have been a very valuable resource over the past seven years in terms of providing information. Without their support and help on a confidential basis, most of the convictions and the life bans, the vast majority would not have happened.

DAVID HAGGERTY: That's really the balance of confidentiality, information, investigation, proof, and transparency that we talk about at times.

PHILIP BROOK: If there's one good thing that's come out of the last 10 days, it's certainly heightened I think in everybody's mind this issue. I think going forward, we would hope that the players would be even more alert to this and more proactive in terms of providing information and support. I think that's a positive thing.

Q. The complexity of the betting you were talking a minute ago. I'm curious, what could possibly be done to address that, seeing that's what the gambling companies are doing? Is there even an avenue to address that?
CHRIS KERMODE: I think this is what the point of the review is. We'll find out. We're hoping that there will be a list of recommendations to address that issue.

PHILIP BROOK: The governments and powers will have taken action.

Q. Many of the lower-ranked players who have had life bans generally are irrelevant. Why do you think that's the case? Why aren't there more higher-ranked players?
CHRIS KERMODE: I think we've been quite open. Do we think it's widespread in the sport at the top level? I don't believe that at all. A handful of cases.

I think we are potentially at greater risk right at the lower levels. It's what we addressed before: it's about education and understanding of the consequences of any of these players getting into that. David alluded to the money. It's part of the equation; it's not all of the equation.

DAVID HAGGERTY: Just to add to the answer. A blacklist is not necessarily meaning that anything there is proven. There's just a suspicious betting pattern.

But to build on the answers that we've given about education, here at the Australian Open just a few days ago, all the juniors went through a seminar and training. We have over 23,000 players - juniors, seniors, pro circuit players - that go through an education seminar. I think these are areas that we can continue to enhance and strengthen and do a better job of education to start at a younger age as they come through to understand the complexities and the moral decisions and how to deal with things.

Q. Does tennis have a structure of penalties, whereby, a Grand Slam winner was found guilty at some stage in their career of fixing a match, they could potentially be stripped of that title retrospectively?
PHILIP BROOK: That's a very interesting question. It hasn't happened yet. The players that have been banned for life were not top-ranked players. To be honest, it's not an issue we've ever thought about.

It's a live issue in some other sports, yes.

Q. Can I ask about player reception to this. You said before, Chris, they're sometimes angry about the issue. Do you expect wholesale support from them when requested about this independent review in the next day or two, or maybe there's concern that tennis is maybe looking at the public perception more than the problem?
CHRIS KERMODE: No. I think they will all agree that we have to take this course of action because we have to demonstrate, which we are willing to demonstrate, that we are transparent and open.

They want that as much as we do, yes.

Q. Would you accept that the BBC investigation was done in good faith and it could be good for the sport in the long run?
PHILIP BROOK: I would accept that. I would.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, everyone.

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