LONDON (AP) — A tennis chair umpire who has officiated at the U.S. Open and Paralympics was suspended for 2 1/2 years for failing to report that he was approached about altering match scores and for not cooperating with the investigation.
The Tennis Integrity Unit said Friday that Armando Belardi Gonzalez, a 40-year-old from Venezuela, also was fined $5,000 as a result of Thursday’s ruling — but he only needs to pay $1,000 of that unless he breaks anti-corruption rules again.
Belardi Gonzalez has been a bronze badge chair umpire since 2013. He worked at the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Open and the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
The TIU said Belardi was approached twice in 2018 to “become involved in a corrupt scheme to manipulate match scores” entered into a chair umpire’s digital device. He did not do what he was asked to do, the TIU said, but did not disclose that he was asked to, which is required by the sport’s anti-corruption rules.
Hearing officer Richard McLaren ruled in the case, based on TIU evidence.
As of Thursday, Belardi Gonzalez is barred from officiating or attending any sanctioned tennis event for 2 1/2 years.
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