Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Roger Federer asked IMG about bets

Roger Federer said Tuesday that he had sought a detailed explanation from Ted Forstmann, the head of his management company IMG, after a lawsuit charged that Forstmann had increased a bet on the 2007 French Open final after consulting with Federer.
Forstmann, 70, is being sued in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Agate Printing, Inc. for fraud, interference with contract and breach of contract. In the complaint, Jim Agate, the head of Agate Printing, is seeking extensive damages for lost business that he claims Forstmann promised him. Agate also contends that he served as a conduit for hundreds of bets totaling millions of dollars that Forstmann placed on sporting events, including the 2007 French Open final, which Federer lost to Rafael Nadal.

Federer, the Swiss star who is in Paris for this week’s BNP Paribas Masters event, has denied that he was aware that Forstmann was betting on that 2007 match and denied any involvement with gambling, saying, “I would never do such a thing.” Federer, whose agent, Tony Godsick, works for IMG, said he contacted Forstmann for clarification after learning of the lawsuit.

“I reached out and told him I want to know everything about it, how this came about,” Federer said. “And he’s been, you know, nice enough obviously to tell me from his side and has been very open in the press already. So that’s O.K. He’s not my agent. Tony is my guy, but still, it’s a firm that does a lot in sports, so it’s just something that for me is important to know what is going on from their side, too.”

Federer did not elaborate on his conversation with Forstmann, whose company also owns and operates some professional tournaments. Asked what he learned from the situation, Federer said that it had further underscored the need for vigilance.

“That names get thrown around, that you can’t help sometimes,” Federer said. “That’s just the way it is. So from that side, for me it was crazy news to hear that, but obviously, it’s not a good thing when IMG or Ted Forstmann is involved in it.”

Forstmann has acknowledged betting on Federer to win the 2007 final and of gambling on sports in general. But he has rejected the claims in the lawsuit, questioned Jim Agate’s credibility and denied receiving inside information from Federer.

“I might have called Roger before the match in 2007,” Forstmann told the Web site The Daily Beast. “But Roger is a buddy of mine, and all I would be doing is wishing him luck.”

Agate’s suit also charges that Forstmann bet $5,000 on Federer to win the 2006 French Open final, a match he also lost to Nadal. The suit says that in 2007, Forstmann placed bets of $22,000 and $11,000 on Federer to win on June 9, the day before the men’s final.

In 2007, the Grand Slam tennis tournaments had rules against players gambling on matches but no rule expressly prohibiting agents or other members of player entourages from gambling on tennis. The Grand Slams also had no rule in 2007 barring a player from giving “inside information” to a gambler, although there was a more general Grand Slam rule against conduct contrary to the integrity of the game.

But under current guidelines, in force since Jan. 1, 2009, amid concern about gambling and the potential for match fixing, no “covered person” may attempt to wager on tennis.

Covered persons include players, tournament support personnel and any “coach, trainer, therapist, physician, management representative, agent, family member, tournament guest, business associate or other affiliate or associate of any player.”

Though Forstmann’s bet on the 2007 final predated the current rules, he could still be subject to an inquiry focusing on his more recent behavior. Since 2008, tennis has had an investigative and sanctioning body, the Tennis Integrity Unit. Mark Harrison, a spokesman for the unit, would neither confirm nor deny whether Forstmann was being investigated.

Courtesy: NY Times

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