Notes on a scandal II

“All the agents are calling me, and Roger’s lawyers are calling me telling me that match fixing is the worst thing you can be accused of in tennis, and it’s all a lie,” Forstmann said in an interview.

Read more: Business Insider

I really didn’t want to make this into a thing.

It’s stupid. It’s pointless. And as with all faux-scandals, it’ll go away, leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth but no mark on history. That’s what I think will ultimately happen, and so far, there has been no evidence to prove otherwise.

In a way, that’s the problem: there has been zero evidence. Yet the lack of actual facts hasn’t stopped the media from referring this case as “the Federer betting scandal”, “the Roger Federer/IMG gambling lawsuit” … just to name a few.

You don’t need me to tell you that there is something defamatory about these labels – they imply, among other things, that Federer was 1) betting and 2) party to a gambling lawsuit. Federer is neither. In fact, he’s not even a witness. He has no presence in the IMG-Agage dispute apart from a peripheral mention in Agate’s spill to TMZ.

Most people know, deep down, that Federer and Tiger Woods’ names were only dragged into this dispute to attract hits and media coverage. A dispute between IMG and one of its printing contractors is just not just sexy. Bring in two of the biggest names in sports and you’ve got yourself the eyes and ears of every news, entertainment and sports outlet under the sun. And you know in what circles IMG operate?

That’s right: news, entertainment and sports. Nicely played, Mr Agate.

But what evidence has subsequently been produced against Federer? And on what basis is the  media reporting these groundless allegations as sensationalist “news” while at the same time covering their own asses by claiming that they see no merit in these claims?

Such is the hypocrisy.

We know that Forstmann (IMG) has admitted to betting on sports in a conflict of interest situations. We know that Agate, being the go-between for Forsyth and betting houses, is planning on milking this for all it’s worth. (Read: extortion)

So why shouldn’t we investigate Federer, as has been suggested? After all, the IMG conceded the other claims.

I can’t believe I’m actually bothering to rebut such a ridiculous proposition. Quite apart from the fact that – unless evidence is produced to the contrary – Federer is the victim of libel by both Agate and the sports media, NOT a suspect, there is actually court case going on.

If there is evidence, Agate will no doubt produce it in court and give the Tennis Integrity Unit some ACTUAL CAUSE to initiate a formal investigation. Why conduct two fact-findings? Especially when one of them is by a judicial system?

Suppose tennis went ahead with an investigation now and clears Federer, but the court finds IMG did have inside information? Or vice versa – tennis drags Federer’s name through the mud and declares him to be the root of all evil, but the court finds no evidence of the alleged IMG inside information? Whose findings do we trust? Does tennis’ investigatory mechanisms really outrank a judicial court’s fact-finding?

Three guesses as to my answer on that.

That is why we wait til the end of any impending court process. If not for any moralistic, meritorious reason – simply for a reason of practicality.

By the way, isn’t that EXACTLY what we did for Wayne Odesnik? The Tennis Integrity Unit waited until Odesnik was actually found guilty of HGH possession by the Brisbane Magistrates Court before starting their own fact-finding, and you know what? Odesnik was actually a defendant in the case, not just an innocent by-stander getting their name dragged in beyond their control.

Let’s look at the reality of this environment – tennis is a high profile sport, and when it comes to high profile, no one trumps Federer. Should an investigation be initiated tomorrow, how do we think it’s going to play out in the media? Will we get any balanced, cool-headed reporting? Or perhaps just general hysteria and dirt-digging?

Without an ounce of evidence against him, Roger Federer would be forced to defend his innocence against media tainting. The outcome would hardly matter – just like Davydenko’s little brush with notoriety, the process generated much hysteria, but the end result? No one cared.

And you know what? Federer might just be entitled to this little thing called the “presumption of innocence”, also known as “WHAT FUCKING RIGHTS do you have for implicating guilt on me so that ‘this sport’ can be seen as self-policing“?

And what would an investigation look like anyway:

“Mister Federer, could you tell us about what you were doing on the day of the Roland Garros 2007 final?”

“Umm … I think I was playing tennis.”

“Did you receive a phone call from Forstmann.”


“What did he say?”

“He said: hey Rog, good luck. (You know?) I hope you beat my other client Nadal. (You know?) Never liked the Spaniards much anyway. (You know?) Now I’m going to bet on you to win!”

“And what did you say?”

“I said (you know?) you made the right choice Teddy-bro. Because I got some inside info for ya. (You know?) I got Rafa all figured out. He totally told me that his knees were injured again, (you know?) nyahahaha…”

“Awesome! I’m going to up my bets then, on –

“Hey Teddy I’m happy for you and Imma let you finish, but I got more inside info for ya – I am THE GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME. ALL TIME!”

Inside info, you haz it.

xx doots


8 responses to “Notes on a scandal II”

  1. marcoiac says :

    this is really a non-existing story. but in the news-dominated modern world, of course it becomes some sort of story anyway. we are so hungry for news and there is so much competition, and ads on websites are producing more and more revenues. of course, news have headlines like the federer betting scandal, even though federer is only remotely linked to the story. and of course at some point lots of people will simply think ‘oh yeah, that swiss guy was implicated in some scandal.’ cos nobody really re-checks the claims anymore, we are just suckers for news of all sorts, never mind if they are true or not.
    but i think it’s difficult to be too moralistic about it, after all this is the same world that makes feddy the wealthy man he is. he makes money because of the same system that generates these ridiculously far-fetched stories.
    and frankly, at least in the states, i doubt he would win a libel lawsuit. i haven’t seen anybody saying ‘i know that feddy did this.’ without that, you don’t win, at least here.
    also, he wouldn’t sue. why would he? to keep this ‘false meme’ getting replicated?
    sadly, the guy who started all this may actually make some money out of it. that’s the most pathetic part. wait, the img ceo (or whoever he is) betting on sports is even more pathetic. it’s amazing how leaders can show such an incredibly high level of poor judgment. or, maybe that’s the best part of it. let’s see the bright side. even famous guys, or big leaders, show their weaknesses. we are all humans, we all make mistakes.
    although some people seem to be making more mistakes than others…

  2. natalia says :

    “The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat.”
    — Confucius

  3. sita says :

    Let me get this straight :

    (1) The guy who bet on Roger got insider info (“I fancy my chances to win today, you know”)
    (2) He placed a bet on Roger – to win
    (3) Roger lost the match
    (4) The guy who bet on him cries foul

    Any kind of betting accusation to my knowledge involves a person throwing a match when he is favored to win. For this story to make any sense, the better should have placed a bet for Roger to lose after getting ‘insider information’ from him. Either that , or even Rafa should be a ‘co-accused’ (They all agreed that Rafa would throw the match, but he didn’t)

    I don’t even remember any of the media reports bringing out the utter ridiculousness of these disjoint pieces of information.F*ck the media for even reporting it without questioning the inconsistencies in the story.

    Doots, I hope Roger uses your services to sue all these #@$%$#s for libel

  4. TGIF says :

    Some points:

    1) About waiting ’til the end of the judical process to investigate:

    The Odesnick case was different because it was criminal, so Odesnick had 5th amendment rights not to answer any questions while this crim case was pending. Still I don’t see the harm in waiting; why not let the court do the work.

    2) Accusations of “inside information”

    To be clear, every word in the complaint by Agate could be true and that would not mean Fed did anything wrong. There’s no rule barring him from telling Forstmann anything he wants to.

    It would only be wrong if he was in collusion w/ Forstmann and knew there was betting involved. Given that the complaint to our knowledge doesn’t say this, and I assume it’s trying to be as sensationalist as possible, it’s pretty clear that Agate has no knowlege of any wrongdoing by Fed.

    3) Should the ITF investigate anyone?

    You bet they should investigate Forstmann, who’s already admitted to unethical conduct. They may want to interview Fed during the course of that investigation, but that’s it, unless something more comes out than we know right now.

    Of course if Fed’s interview turns out like your imaginary one . . . .uh . . .

    • dootsiez says :

      Re 1) that goes to what I was saying – Odesnik was ACTUALLY a criminal defendant, here Federer is – what? Nothing – not a criminal defendant, not a civil defendant. Doesn’t sound like he’s even been called as a witness, yet the whole media focus that he was somehow central to this case is just a whole lotta hot wind + even less cause to investigate him before the case actually turns up anything substantial on this point.

      By the way, Odesnik was tried under Australian law. Let’s stay away from ‘fifth amendment rights’ language.

      2) Yes.

      3) Yes, but like I said, wait til the court trial has finished. This whole business with tennis conducting its own investigation while there’s a trial on is just silly – re inconsistent findings etc. Let the courts do their jobs first, then tidy up the mess specifically in relation to tennis.

      • TGIF says :

        Yeah, sorry doots about the 5th amendment thing, I’m assuming australia has sth similar tho’?
        But as a typical american of course I use our terms for everything 🙂

        • dootsiez says :


          Actually, we have no bill of rights in Australia. It’ll be under different statutes/common law for each state. Grrrrr ….

  5. A_Gallivant says :

    When the scandal broke, the thought that came to my mind is “you live by the sword, you die by sword.” I don’t believe Federer participated in the betting with insider information. Yet, how are we to really be sure of any of this? Isn’t it ok for him to share information with his management team? Doesn’t this all come down to he said/she said unless you have taped conversations?

    At the end of the day, having IMG managing clients and owning events where clients perform seem like a recipe for disaster; it’s the dreaded sword. I think this will all go away simply because IMG is too integral a part of tennis for it to get much play. I think that’s why the online crazies want to keep targeting Federer; he’s really the only one that can be tarnished by this scandal in a very personal way.

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