Wimbledon ready to ban Daniil Medvedev amidst concerns win may boost Vladimir Putin’s regime
Wimbledon are reportedly ready to ban Russian players, including Daniil Medvedev, over fears that a Russian victory may boost confidence in Vladimir Putin’s regime.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been raging on since February. As such, the longer the war draws on, the louder calls grow for a stronger ban on Russian and Belarusian players.
As things currently stand, Russian and Belarusian players are forced to compete as ‘neutral athletes.’ This means that athletes from these nations cannot display any flags or other insignia that references or represents their countries.
Last month, UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston MP suggested the idea that Russian players should be required to “provide written assurances” that they are truly neutral and not in support of or collusion with Putin’s government.
However, such an idea has proved polarising and divisive across the sport. Many feel the punishment is too severe and unfair for something players cannot control, whilst others feel it is “the right thing to do” and any deterrent is worth implementing.
The Telegraph recently reported that the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club’s (AELTC) independent status means they would be able to impose bans without facing any legal repercussions.
A source who worked closely with the AELTC told The Telegraph, “private member clubs have more freedom as to who to allow in or not, so they wouldn’t be subject to the same discrimination laws as the [ATP or WTA] tours.
“If you are running the main tennis tour, you have the freedom to ban players – if they have been found guilty of match-fixing or doping, for instance – but you have to be able to show that this course of action is reasonable.
“In this instance, if the tours took strong action, Russians players could argue that they are being prevented from making a living through no fault of their own. That is not so much of an issue for Wimbledon, however.”
With Wimbledon’s entry deadline coming in mid-May, a ban could be announced within the next few weeks.
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