The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) has handed Brazilian tennis player Joao Olavo Soares de Souza a lifetime ban after he was convicted of multiple match-fixing offences as well as a number of associated corruption offences.
In addition to the lifetime ban, Souza has also been issued with a $200,000 fine after he ‘committed numerous breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP). These included repeated incidents of match-fixing at ATP Challenger and ITF Futures tournaments held in Brazil, Mexico, the United States and Czech Republic..’
The TIU also revealed that Souza was found guilty of failing to report corrupt approaches, failure to fully cooperate with the TIU which is said to have included destroying evidence.
Souza had also solicited other players to not use best efforts according to independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Prof Richard H. McLaren at a disciplinary Hearing.
In March 2019, and prior to being charged with corruption offences, Souza had been provisionally suspended from professional tennis, pending completion of the TIU investigation and case against him.
The subsequent ban came into effect on 24 January, with Souza no longer able to compete in or attend any event organised or recognised by a tennis governing body.
The 31-year old is currently ranked 742 in ATP singles, with a career-high of 69 reached in April 2015. As a doubles player his highest ranking was 70, achieved in January 2013.
In a statement made via LinkedIn, the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) ‘welcomed’ the decision made by the TIU.
It said: “IBIA welcomes the decision to impose a lifetime ban and $200,000 fine on Joao Olavo Soares de Souza after a conviction on match-fixing charges. IBIA and its members will continue to work closely with the Tennis Integrity Unit and the association is confident that the measures being taken by the sport aligned with the detailed customer-based data provided by IBIA members will continue to enable the identification and punishment of betting related corruption in tennis.”