Australian Open moves to prevent match-fixing

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BRISBANE, Oct 31 (Reuters) Tennis Australia has moved to prevent match-fixing at the Australian Open by hiring a security consultancy firm.

Chief Executive Steve Wood said today that Tennis Australia had hired the firm and formed a working group to ensure player integrity at January's grand slam.

''These measures are designed to ensure that we address the issue of player integrity generally and illegal gambling specifically,'' Wood said.

He said the security review would address ''potential vulnerabilities''.

The working group will liaise with police, examine match-fixing in other sports and prepare a plan to expose instances of illegal conduct.

''I want to stress that we are continuing to work closely with the governing bodies of world tennis to coordinate a collective and comprehensive approach toward protecting the integrity of our sport,'' Wood said.

''While we have never had a reported match-fixing incident in Australia, we're taking the situation seriously as it's an emerging issue for tennis administrators worldwide.'' REUTERS HSB KP1801

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