The global independent body established to protect the integrity of tennis around the world, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), announced it imposed a new regulatory sanction against a Bolivian tennis chair umpire. The ITIA said that the umpire, Heriberto Morales Churata, received a temporary ban from the sport after an investigation uncovered that he manipulated scores for betting purposes.
The aforementioned breaches, the Agency said, date back to events in 2021, as well as 2022, within the ITF World Tennis Tour. The umpire, who is also a green badge official, manipulated data for some of the events by entering incorrect scores into a handheld device. As a result, Churata was sanctioned by the ITIA with a six-year ban.
In light of the ban, the umpire is prohibited to officiate at any tennis event that is authorized or sanctioned by the governing bodies of tennis. What’s more, the ban restricts Churata from attending events under the ITIA. Besides the six-year ban, the Agency imposed a $10,000 fine against the Bolivian tennis umpire.
“Morales Churata, a green badge official, was found to have manipulated scores for betting purposes by incorrectly entering scores into the handheld device at ITF World Tennis Tour events in 2021 and 2022. In addition to the ban, the official has been fined $10,000,“
explains a statement released by the ITIA
Upon investigating, the ITIA uncovered multiple breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP). The integrity watchdog explained that it found that Churata breached Section D.1.b, Section D.1.m and Section D.2.b.i of the 2021 TACP. Those sections prohibit covered persons from manipulating the outcomes of tennis matches and demand any breaches to be reported.
Additionally, the ITIA said that the umpire breached the same sections from the 2022 TACP. Five breaches were recorded for each of the sections, while at the same time, Churata breached Section D.2.b.ii of the 2021 and 2022 TACP. This section in particular requires any suspected manipulations or breaches to be reported.
According to the ITIA, the latest case was dealt under its 2023 TACP “agreed sanction” framework which allows the implementation of a sanction without a hearing and upon admission of the offenses. As a result, Churata’s ban was implemented on December 8, 2022, which marked the start of his provisional suspension. Given the sanction, the umpire will be banned from the sport through December 7, 2028.
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