Home Sports Wimbledon: the exclusion of the Russians, a political decision that goes wrong

Wimbledon: the exclusion of the Russians, a political decision that goes wrong

43
0

Wimbledon took a political decision on Wednesday that risks tarnishing its image as the biggest tournament in the world. Management has decided to exclude Russian and Belarusian players from its 2022 edition. A decision that satisfies a handful of Ukrainian players, but sets the rest of the tennis world upside down.

Wimbledon took a political decision on Wednesday that risks tarnishing its image as the biggest tournament in the world. Management has decided to exclude Russian and Belarusian players from its 2022 edition. A decision that satisfies a handful of Ukrainian players, but sets the rest of the tennis world upside down.

The ATP reacted in an unusually virulent press release, deeming the exclusion of players because of their nationality “discriminatory” and “unfair”. The body has indicated that it is looking into possible measures to be taken, considering that Wimbledon had broken the agreement which wants the tournament to take the best players in the ATP rankings, like the WTA.

Can Wimbledon become an amateur tournament this year?

The Grand Slam tournaments being autonomous, the possible sanctions that the ATP and the WTA could inflict concern a reduction in the ranking points awarded (2,000 for the winner) until the total absence of points distributed… But which player refuse to play the biggest competition in the world, even reduced to the status of an exhibition tournament?

The ATP does not seem inclined to take legal action, when the WTA could provide assistance to players who wish to do so. According to the daily The Teamwho obtained an email sent by the WTA to all affiliated players, the WTA is studying “the actions that you (the players) could take according to the Grand Slam regulations”.

Read:  Tennis: Roger Federer reveals his intentions for 2022

“Declaration of Intent”

There are three avenues of legal action: discrimination based on nationality, infringement of the freedom to work because “we are talking about sportsmen and sportswomen who are going to be hampered in their freedom to be able to exercise their work” and the break of equal treatment since “it is a measure which it seems applies only to tennis players, other professionals of Russian and Belarusian nationality being able to continue to exercise their professional activity on the soil of England”, underlined to AFP Tatiana Vassine, lawyer in sports law.

However, she believes that Wimbledon is only at the “declaration of intent” stage and that the coming weeks could allow the ATP and WTA to prevent the English organizers from making their intention effective. “The soft power of sport should not be underestimated,” she insists.

Especially since the pressure is also exerted on the part of players, active or not. “Giving the tournament prize money to humanitarian aid, to families who are suffering, to children who are suffering, that’s something that would have a bit of an impact,” suggested one of the banished, Andrey Rublev, pointing out that the Major “would get all the glory.” An opinion shared on social networks by Australian John Millman for whom “Ukraine would gain much more if Wimbledon paid all its profits in aid instead of excluding Russian and Belarusian players”.

Read:  Winter Olympics in Beijing: how was the opening ceremony?

World number Novak Djokovic, a six-time Wimbledon winner and three-time defending champion, called the tournament’s decision “crazy”.

A decision criticized everywhere

Ex-world No.1 and founder of the WTA in 1973, the American Billie Jean King also spoke out against the decision of Wimbledon. “One of the principles that guided the creation of the WTA was that every girl in the world, if she has the level, must have the opportunity to play (…). I cannot support the exclusion of athletes individually, whatever the tournament, on the sole pretext of their nationality”, tweeted the former player who co-holds with Martina Navratilova the record of 20 titles at Wimbledon (6 in singles, 10 in women’s doubles and 4 in mixed doubles).

In addition to the repercussions on the players, it is the political aspect of the decision of Wimbledon which is widely criticized.

The previous Djokovic

The Belarusian Federation considers that such a tough decision at Wimbledon could only have been taken “under direct pressure exerted by the British government”. Especially since Wimbledon had already excluded German and Japanese players for several years after the Second World War, South African players were allowed to play during the apartheid years.

Earlier this year, a political decision by the Australian government deprived world No.1 Novak Djokovic of the Australian Open for refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19. But in the case of Wimbledon, “there is no government intervention” and the decision of the tournament is not based on a law or the general interest of the country, notes Me Vassine.

Previous articleAfter the DMA, the European regulation of platforms is increasing with an agreement on the DSA
Next articleContent banned in Ukraine: Google fined more than 126,000 euros in Russia