The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has fined its British counterpart £820,000 (one million euros) for not allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to play in grass tournaments. Last summer, the British Tennis Association (LTA) banned singles athletes from the Grand Slam, Wimbledon, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), an organization for male professional tennis players, said in April that the association’s unilateral decision was unacceptable and could set a precedent for further disqualification of tennis players based on nationality. LTA reacted angrily to the fine. According to the FA, “The League does not sufficiently recognize the exceptional circumstances caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine”.
The UK government stands firmly behind the British Tennis Association. British Sports Minister Michelle Donnellan said on Wednesday that the UK had taken a “leading role” in building “this international response”. According to Donnellan, “Sport clearly cannot be used to justify a deadly invasion, and athletes representing the Russian and Belarusian nations should be banned from tournaments in other countries.”
Russian athletes and teams have also been banned from participating in other major sporting events, such as this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the 2022 European Football Championship in Germany. Belarus is not excluded from these tournaments. The country has not yet sent soldiers to Ukraine, but it is serving as an invasion platform for the Russian military. (Norwegian Refugee Council)
A version of this article also appeared in the December 8, 2022 newspaper
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