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‘Cover-up’ claims as Times tennis writer admits to plagiarism for Wimbledon books

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A leading tennis journalist with The Times has admitted to plagiarism, with additional reports claiming his behaviour was known about for some time.

Neil Harman has been chief tennis correspondent with the newspaper since 2002, but has been exposed as an individual who has been passing off other journalists' work as his own, reports deadspin.com.

Harman sent a letter to the International Tennis Writers Association with a full confession.

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READ MORE HERE: Prominent British tennis reporter admits to plagiarism

Harman had been producing the yearly edition of Wimbledon: The Official Story of The Championships since 2004, but - after the cat was let out of the bag - admitted ripping off the work of fellow writers to finish the book saying "there was no excuse for such shoddy work".

"It has been brought to my attention that I have severely compromised my position as a member, having used unattributed material to form part of my writing of the Wimbledon Yearbook.

"There can be no excuse for such shoddy work, which I deeply regret. I did it without malice aforethought, but that I did it at all is simply inexcusable.

"I sincerely had no idea the extent to which I had let the Club, myself and my colleagues down and feel it is only right that I relinquish my membership. This is a marked stain on my reputation and (I hope) good name.

"When Wimbledon first informed me that they had been made aware of this lack of professionalism, I immediately told those British writers who were attending the Davis Cup tie in Naples. Since then, I realise that I had made several errors which are unconscionable. It is far better for all concerned that I resign my membership."

Deadspin.com printed an anonymous email that said Harman had been engaged in "rampant plagiarism" while writing his books on Wimbledon:

"Only the Americans appear to take this sort of thing seriously. All you need is a copy of the 2013 Wimbledon annual and Google and you'll find hit after hit of stolen material. Check every annual Harman has ever written and you'll find the same. My American colleagues tell me that if any of them got caught in the States doing something like this they'd be sacked on the spot and publicly shamed (by websites like yours, no less).

"In Britain we think if we just ignore something it will go away. There is something fundamentally broken about our system and our lack of ethics. It needs to stop. He's been known to plagiarise his colleagues' work and steal exclusive quotes without attribution for his own paper.

"His 35.5k Twitter followers (the most of any tennis journalist) seems to have inflated his insufferable ego to the point that he believes he is the most important tennis journalist in the world. Players and agents believe it as well (he was hired to ghost-write Andy Murray's book after he won Wimbledon). In fact, he is nothing but a deceitful operator who has built a career on the wrong side of the ethics line.

"His editors at The Times know about all this and have done nothing to censure him. Wimbledon learned of the plagiarism and continued to sell the plagiarised book in their store. They hired him for this year's Wimbledon programme. He got an exclusive invite to the Wimbledon Champions' Dinner. Quite the cover-up by the All England Club."

The UK magazine Private Eye reported that employees at Wimbledon had known months earlier that chunks of the book had been copied, but it was on sale during this year's tournament, writes Ben Rothenberg on slate.com.

Harman was not commissioned to write this year's book, but did contribute a feature on Andy Murray.

He was also allowed to keep his media accreditation, and attend the Champions' Dinner.

The All England Club did not notify the writers whose work had been copied and reproduced without their knowledge.

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