Six Spanish tennis players have been sanctioned by the ITIA ©ITIA

The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has banned six Spanish players from the sport after they received criminal convictions related to match-fixing, which the organisation had labelled "one of the most significant infiltrations of tennis by organised crime".

Marc Fornell Mestres, Jorge Marse Vidri, Carlos Ortega, Jaime Ortega, Marcos Torralbo and Pedro Bernabe Franco all pleaded guilty to corruption charges in Spain.

Fornell and Marse had achieving ranking highs of 236 and 562, respectively, with the remainder having been unranked.

The players were all given two-year suspended prison sentences, as well as a fine.

A wider case involving organised crime continues in Spain.

The ITIA said it had been able to sanction the players following the conclusion of their criminal cases, with Fornell receiving the longest ban of 22 years and six months.

Marse, Carlos Ortega, Tarralbo and Bernabe were banned for 15 years, while Jaime Ortega received a sanction of seven years and six months.

Fines ranging from $15,000 (£12,000/€14,000) to $250,000 (£202,000/€237,000) were also imposed on the players, albeit significant portions are suspended.

The ITIA said the sanctions mark the end of a five-year process between the organisation, Spanish law enforcement agencies and the betting industry, through the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA).

The ITIA said the case was
The ITIA said the case was "one of the most significant infiltrations of tennis by organised crime that we have seen" ©Getty Images

"This is one of the most significant infiltrations of tennis by organised crime that we have seen," said Jonny Gray, ITIA chief executive.

"We welcome the involvement of law enforcement agencies and the prosecution of entire criminal networks, not just the players involved.

"This ruling sends a strong message that match-fixing is a crime which can see criminal convictions.

"I must pay tribute to our investigations, intelligence and legal teams who have worked tirelessly over the last five years or so to bring this case to its conclusion.

"We also had excellent cooperation between the ITIA and Spanish law enforcement agencies, as well as the unswerving support of the tennis bodies.

"Finally, we are hugely grateful to the betting industry for their evidence, leading to these convictions."

The ITIA says the sanctions prohibit the players from competing in or attending any tennis event authorised or sanctioned by any international tennis governing body or national association for the length of their bans.

The players are also unable to coach in the professional game.