Denis Pitner a Croatian umpire has been handed a 10 year ban, and will be unable to officiate at any Grand Slam, ATP, WTA or ITF tournament. The Croatian was given a one year suspension as part of a betting/match fixing investigation. In August Pitner was given the ban after passing on details about the fitness of a player, and also for accessing an account used for betting.
As reported in The Guardian in February the linesman had been banned and placed on the "do not credential" list. Pitner had been approved in July to officiate at the US Open, before the ban came into force. By the time his name had been added to the list, the Croatian had already collected his credentials for the slam event at Flushing Meadows.
It also came to light that the Croatian, despite knowing he was suspended for a year, successfully applied for credentials at the Qatar Open in January, the ATP acknowledged this as a breakdown of procedures. A review was launched to ensure something like this would not happen again. The Croatian also managed to be chair umpire at an ITF super seniors event in September. The Croatian Tennis Federation have also looked at ways to avoid this happening again.
The ITF has found the Croatian guilty of failure to notify the United States Tennis Association of the suspension of his white badge certification and also misrepresentation to the Qatar Tennis Federation that he held a current white badge certification in his application to officiate at the 2016 Qatar Open. As a result Pitner has been banned from officiating any event until April 2026.
At a time when match fixing and drug testing is in the media spotlight, the fact the tennis authorities have sought to act with such a long ban bodes well for how seriously the sport is taking such actions.
Pitner, it has emerged, also applied to officiate at Wimbledon this year without declaring his initial ban to the Lawn Tennis Association. With the 10 year ban the Croatian will not be allowed to obtain credentials for any official event run by the governing bodies. If he tries to apply, there should now be measures in place to prevent him from being successful