Bulgarian Tennis Official Receives Lifetime Ban for Serious Corruption Breaches

Pavel Atanasov admitted to charges of betting on tennis matches, facilitating wagering, and manipulating scoring data.

Apr 22, 2024 • 16:06 ET • 4 min read
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

A Bulgarian tennis official was given a lifetime ban last week by the International Tennis Integrity Agency for 21 breaches of the sport’s anti-corruption program between 2019 and 2023. 

Pavel Atanasov dropped his appeal and effectively admitted to charges of betting on tennis matches, facilitating wagering, and manipulating scoring data. The former ITF official also failed to report “corrupt approaches” and conspired to “commit corruption offenses,” according to the ITIA’s findings

Of the most serious charges, the investigation alleged that Atanasov “entered false information into his hand-held scoring device in a corrupt scheme to aid a Bulgarian linked betting account.” This occurred on eight different points in eight different games during five matches from 2019-2021.

Prohibited from sanctioned events

Atanasov was also fined $10,000 by the ITIA, and his ban, which was activated on March 4, means he’s prohibited from officiating or attending any tennis event sanctioned by an ITIA member. 

That includes ATP, ITF, WTA, Tennis Australia, Fédération Française de Tennis, Wimbledon, and USTA.

Atanasov, who had previously officiated $10K and $25K ITF tournaments in Bulgaria, can no longer be associated with authorized events nationally either. 

Racking up bans

This marks the second time this month and third time since last November that the ITIA has punished an individual for sports betting corruption. 

Spanish tennis player Aaron Cortes received a 15-year ban two weeks ago for committing 35 breaches between 2016 and 2018. He was also handed a $75,000 fine for his role in match-fixing.

In 2023, the ITIA suspended Slovenian official Marko Ducman more than a decade for four breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program. 

The ITIA promotes, encourages, enhances, and safeguards the integrity of professional tennis worldwide.  

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