Peng Shuai suspended for alleged Fed Cup match-fixing row

• Inter-national governing body explains its position on Peng Shuai • ‘International tennis needs Chinese tennis stars. We are not punishing a billion people,’ says ITF

The International Tennis Federation says it does not want to punish a billion people by suspending China’s Peng Shuai and dropping her from the Fed Cup group stages in an ongoing row over alleged corruption.

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The ITF informed the world No57 of the proposed change on Wednesday and she could join the 2016 Fed Cup runner-up Zhang Shuai in appealing if the ban is confirmed. The ITF has said it suspects the Chinese pair of deliberately taking out an opponent in April to secure a place in the final of the doubles competition.

Peng has been investigated over allegations that she used her opponent’s rackets to wipe some of the sweat from her own racquet before the match but the ITF has refused to release details of its investigation and that of Zhang, citing its confidentiality policy.

The ITF president David Haggerty said the organisation was firmly behind the integrity of its competitions but was increasingly aware that there are different views in the world of tennis.

“We have a responsibility to try to balance our efforts to continue to ensure the integrity of our competitions while being sensitive to a significant social issue in the country. That’s what happened with this last issue,” Haggerty told the Australian Associated Press.

“We have been in touch with the government, with government authorities and discussions continue. It’s a very difficult issue to resolve. The best thing we can do in this process is to have dialogue. There are always concerns when issues like this arise.

“International tennis needs Chinese tennis stars. We are not punishing a billion people. But we do have a very serious desire to make sure the playing discipline, the integrity of our competitions is as good as it can be.”

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