UK culture secretary Michelle Donelan wasn’t impressed with the ATP and WTA sanctioning the LTA as she thinks the tennis tours are “determined to be outcasts.” In the summer, the WTA fined the LTA and AELTC $1 million each for banning Russian and Belarusian players from competing in British grass-court tournaments.
This week, the ATP slapped the LTA with a $1 million fine for not allowing Russian and Belarusian players to compete in its events. “Over the past year, the vast majority of the international sporting community have stood shoulder to shoulder in condemning Putin’s unprovoked and barbaric actions in Ukraine.
The UK has taken a world-leading role to build this international role. We are clear that sport cannot be used to legitimize this deadly invasion, and that athletes representing the Russian and Belarusian states should be banned from competing in other countries.
Despite widespread condemnation, the international tennis tours are determined to be outcasts in this, with investment in the growth of our domestic game hampered as a result. This is the wrong move by the ATP and WTA. I urge them to think carefully about the message this sends, and to reconsider,” Donelan said in her statement.
UK culture secretary Michelle Donlan hits back at ATP over $1m fine of LTA for banning Russians and Belarusians.
Says the ATP and the WTA are “determined to be outcasts” and urges them to reconsider. pic.twitter.com/VvGUwSwwId — James Gray (@jamesgraysport) December 7, 2022
The LTA ‘deeply saddened’ over the ATP’s reaction
In April, the AELTC and LTA announced there would be no Russian and Belarusian players competing in British grass court tournaments this year.
The ATP and WTA released statements shortly after those announcements, condemning their actions. As expected, the ATP and WTA reacted by imposing fines on the LTA. “The LTA is deeply disappointed with this outcome. The ATP, in its finding, has shown no recognition of the exceptional circumstances created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, or the international sporting community and UK Government’s response to that invasion.
The ATP appear to regard this matter as a straightforward breach of their rules – with a surprising lack of empathy shown for the situation in Ukraine, and a clear lack of understanding of the unique circumstances the LTA faced,” the LTA said in its statement. It remains to be seen if Russian and Belarusian players will be allowed to play in Great Britain next year.
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