Miami Tennis Open chief James Blake fined for breaking betting rules. GETTY IMAGES

Former tennis player must pay more than $50,000 for violating sponsorship betting rules. The ITIA didn't find any intent in Blake's actions, but this situation could result in a suspended ban for him.

James Blake has been fined for breaching betting sponsorship rules, the International Tennis Integrity Agency announced on Wednesday. The amount he must pay is $56,250 (€51,820). 

The former ATP number four accepted the sanction, co-operated fully with the investigation and did not contest the charge. The ITIA statement did not explain exactly how Blake broke the rules, but agency CEO Karen Moorhouse commented: "Across all of our members - the ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slams - the rules prohibit accredited individuals from having commercial relationships with betting companies." 

The International Tennis Integrity Agency accepted that the breach was unintentional, but if the Miami Open chief is found to have broken the rules again, he could face an additional fine of more than $130,000 (€120,000) and an 18-month suspension.

As a tournament director, Blake falls into the category of a "covered person," meaning that he is considered to be directly involved in the management of the sport and must therefore follow the rules regarding interactions with betting organisations. "This is a case of perception rather than corruption. The rules apply to players, coaches, officials and accredited tournament staff - all of whom are in a position to influence results or have access to inside information," Moorhouse commented. 

"We urge anyone in the sport who is unsure or is considering commercial arrangements to contact us for guidance," Moorhouse concluded in the ITIA statement.