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Dubai tournament organisers may appeal fine

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:29

The organisers of the Dubai Championships are considering an appeal over the record $300,000 they have been fined by the WTA after Israeli Shahar Peer was barred from taking part in this week’s tournament.

Peer was denied a visa for the United Arab Emirates for what organisers called security concerns, and her exclusion has been met with uproar throughout the tennis world and beyond.

“We don’t issue visas – we request them. It is the immigration authorities who make the decisions” – Colm McLoughlin

“There is an appeal situation if we want to use it, in the WTA rule book, but we have not gone into detail on it,” Colm McLoughlin, managing director of tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free, said on Saturday. “I recognise the WTA have an issue with their rules. We are looking at [the fine] and will respond in a few days.

“When we assess it, if we decide we have to pay the fine then we will pay it. But we have not made that decision. We have to sit down and just look at it. Neither Dubai Duty Free nor the tournament issues visas – we request them. It is the immigration authorities and sometimes the security people who make the decisions.”

The UAE, like most Arab countries has no diplomatic ties with Israel and routinely denies entry to its citizens. Tensions have been heightened after the three-week Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip, which killed 1,300 Palestinians and 14 Israelis. But after international condemnation for excluding Peer, the UAE on Thursday changed its policy of barring Israeli athletes.

Doubles specialist Andy Ram was given special permission to compete in next week’s men’s tournament in Dubai, ensuring the event goes ahead as planned.

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