Wimbledon chief Ian Hewitt has explained the process behind Wimbledon deciding to ban Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s tournament.
During the All England Club's spring briefing, he explained the role of the UK Government during the decision and as a result of their guidance, the All-England Club were left with “no viable alternative” but to enforce a ban.
"The UK Government has set out directive guidance for sporting bodies and events in the UK with the specific aim of limiting Russia's influence,” he began. "We have considered at length the options available. These are in effect two options: declining entries or allowing entries but only with specific declarations (against the invasion of Ukraine ) from individual players.
"We considered a wide variety of factors. After lengthy and careful consideration, we came to two firm conclusions.” He added: “First, even if we were to accept entries (from Russian and Belarusian players) with written declarations, we would risk their success or participation being used to benefit the propaganda machine of the Russian regime, which we could not accept.
"Second, we have a duty to ensure no actions should put players or their families at risk. We understand and deeply regret the impact this will have on all the people affected. We believe we have made the most responsible decision possible. We believe (given Government guidance) there is no viable alternative in this truly exceptional and tragic situation."
The sporting world has enforced sanctions following Russian President Vladimir Putin ’s invasion of Ukraine. The likes of Nikita Mazepin lost his F1 seat in the lead-up to the new season and Roman Abramovich was forced to put Chelsea FC up for sale.
Tennis do not recognise the Russian and Belarusian flags on their programming following the invasion, but the decision to prevent the players from playing at the sport’s most prestigious event has received a backlash from many in the tennis world. The ATP and WTA have slammed the call and are considering preserving the rankings of the Russian and Belarusian tennis players prevented from competing at the All-England Club.
Both tours are holding meetings in Madrid this week to decide the next steps, with the possibility of removing ranking points from Wimbledon on the cards. The tournament’s chief executive Sally Bolton said they were in daily communication with the tours and added: "We won't be speculating on what may or may not happen in the future.
"We continue to make the case for why we have made the decision we have made and the unique set of circumstances we find ourselves in here in the UK. They absolutely appreciate that." British tennis are hoping more countries will join them in enforcing a ban to save its events from being sanctioned by the ATP and WTA tours.
The authorities in Rome are considering the possibility of preventing the players from both nations from competing in next month's Italian Open, one of the last clay-court events before Roland Garros.
Source: Read Full Article