Six Spanish tennis players have been given lengthy bans after they were convicted of criminal charges relating to match-fixing. Image Credit: Pixabay

Six Spanish tennis players have received lengthy bans after Spanish courts found them guilty of match fixing and convicted them on criminal charges, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) said.

The ITIA said the players were convicted in Spain as part of a wider case involving organised crime and they have been handed bans ranging from seven years to more than 22 years.

Two players, Marc Fornell Mestres and Jorge Marse Vidri, are ranked while the other four - Carlos Ortega, Jaime Ortega, Marcos Torralbo and Pedro Bernabe Franco - are unranked. They had all received two-year suspended prison sentences.

22 year ban

Mestres received the biggest punishment and was banned by the ITIA for 22 years and six months while he was also fined $250,000, of which $200,000 is suspended. The bans prevent them from both playing or coaching.

“This is one of the most significant infiltrations of tennis by organised crime that we have seen,” ITIA CEO Jonny Gray said in a statement.

“We welcome the involvement of law enforcement agencies and the prosecution of entire criminal networks, not just the players involved. This ruling sends a strong message that match fixing is a crime which can see criminal convictions.”