Peng Shuai Indian Wells 2017

IOC accused of prioritising ‘political and economic interests’ above Peng Shuai’s safety

A German athletes’ group has slammed the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recent statements and urged them to put Peng Shuai’s safety “above political and economic interests.”

The IOC have been widely criticised by a range of voices in relation to their “quiet diplomacy” approach to the censorship of Peng Shuai’s sexual assault allegations.

The IOC are currently the only organisation outside of China to have had direct video communication with Peng, but the call has been labelled a “media exercise” and “publicity stunt.”

Meanwhile, WTA CEO and chairman Steve Simon feels his email correspondence with Peng has been “100% orchestrated.”

Ultimately, the WTA decided to withdraw all events from China due to their continued failure and refusal to cooperate with requests for a “full, fair and transparent investigation.”

Germany’s independent athletes’ body Athleten Deutschland released a statement that criticised the IOC’s handling of the situation and urged them to prioritise Peng’s safety and freedom over any political and financial concerns.

The statement read “the apparently deliberate factoring out of Peng Shuai’s three-week disappearance and the abuse allegations she made in her two statements gives rise to fears that the IOC attaches greater importance to political and economic interests than the protection of athletes.

“The Peng Shuai case confirms a recurring behaviour pattern when dealing with athletes whose fundamental rights are violated and who are affected by violence, discrimination, persecution or repression. The IOC evades, hesitates or shows responsibility of yourself.”

Athleten Deutchland went on to add that the IOC’s statements “provide no evidence as to whether Peng Shuai is actually safe, whether she can make free decisions and whether she can express herself free of coercion and censorship.”

The athletes’ rights body praised the WTA’s approach and said the IOC need to follow their example and “put the protection of the survivor above political and economic considerations.”

Moreover, head of international sports policy at the German Athletics Association Maximilian Klein said “the world’s most powerful organization in sport must make it unmistakably clear that the protection of athletes, and not the protection of economic and political interests, has top priority.

“The IOC must now show your colours, fulfil your human rights responsibility and finally act in harmony with your ideals.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.