ITIA publishes 2024 changes to anti-corruption and anti-doping programmes

The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has published updated rules for 2024, which will apply to its Anti-Corruption Programme (TACP) and Anti-Doping Programme (TADP).

The ITIA is an independent body established by the sport’s governing bodies – the International Tennis Federation (ITF); Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP); and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and the four grand slams – to safeguard the integrity of professional tennis worldwide. Its programme changes have been announced amid a steady stream of sanctions in 2023, particularly in respect of TACP breaches.

International Tennis Integrity Agency

From anti-doping to anti-corruption – the 2024 changes at-a-glance

While the changes are generally minor, the TADP incorporates the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list of substances and methods. One of the major changes to WADA’s prohibited list, which by extension applies to tennis players, is the inclusion of tramadol in the list of substances banned in competition. Tramadol has been monitored by WADA for some time, and in readiness for the changes the ITIA has syndicated WADA factsheets for players and medical personnel.

Regarding the banning of tramadol in-competition, players and their teams will need to be cognisant of the potential need for a therapeutic use exemption (where prescribed for a diagnosed medical condition) and the risk of positive findings if tramadol is used shortly before an in-competition period.

Among the changes to the TACP, meanwhile:
  • The definition of “Related Person” has been amended, in particular to clarify the position for persons serving in a non-playing capacity at a team event (where persons will typically be bound by the TACP for one year – rather than two years – after the last team event in which the person served in).

    Given the general proliferation of team events within the game, there may be an increasing number of non-playing individuals involved in the team setup who, along with the teams they support, need to be aware of the extent to which the TACP will continue to apply in the twelve months after their last team event (even if they have little or no further role in the game).
  • The definition of “Tournament Support Personnel” has been amended to carve out from the meaning of contractor, in-house tournament broadcast contractors and those in peripheral roles (such as food service, cleaning and maintenance) which have little or no player or official-facing, or match-related, element (and, crucially, where the contractor is not privy to non-public player information).

    This is a common-sense change that provides more clarity in respect of the myriad and diverse personnel involved in the staging of tennis tournaments. The changes ought to help organisers and supporting contractors determine more easily which persons are “in” and “out” of being bound by the TACP, and can target awareness initiatives accordingly.
  • The meaning of “Courtsiding” has been honed to specifically capture persons who, while on-site at an event, make transmissions of or disseminate contemporaneous results for betting purposes, without the consent of the event or relevant governing body.

    The amend from “repeated transmissions” to “transmissions” and more general reference to “otherwise disseminate” suggests a subtle broadening of the meaning of “courtsiding” and may ultimately make it easier for the ITIA to identify offences under the relevant prohibition. Courtsiding continues to be a problem within the game, with sanctions having been being issued against players in 2023.
  • References to Professional Tennis Integrity Officer (PTIO) have been removed. Such officers were appointed by each of the ITF, ATP, WTA and Grand Slam Board, however their duties are undertaken by the ITIA Rules Committee.

    For example, PTIOs were previously able under the TACP to attend hearings; instead, members of the ITIA Rules Committee (or their nominees) may be able to attend hearings in future.

As with each annual update, players, their teams and other persons involved in the game (including, in some cases, those on its fringes) will need to familiarise themselves with the changes.

The updated TACP and TADP apply from 1 January 2024. To help players and other covered persons understand their responsibilities, the ITIA has published one-pager explainers (TACP and TADP) in parallel with the programmes.

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