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WTA fine Dubai organisers

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:19

The United Arab Emirates has no diplomatic relations with Israel and no Jewish player has ever played in Dubai. Israelis have typically been denied entry there unless they hold citizenship in other countries.

“The actions taken today are intended to redress the wrongs suffered by Shahar Peer, who was victimised by an unjust policy of discrimination by the UAE,” WTA chairman and CEO Larry Scott said in a statement.

“These actions are also intended to send a clear message that our Tour will not tolerate discrimination of any kind and that we will never allow this situation to happen again, in UAE or elsewhere.”

Peer also will receive $44,250 and 130 ranking points, the amount equal to the points that she earned during the same week in 2008 but was unable to defend. She also will be guaranteed a wild card entry to the tournament if she does not qualify. Anna-Lena Groenefeld, who was to be Peer’s doubles partner, will receive $7,950.

Dubai organisers must also confirm that Israeli players will be granted a visa at least eight weeks before the event if they want the tournament to remain on the 2010 schedule.

Tournament organisers stated that the decision to block the 45th-ranked Peer from playing in this week’s WTA event resulted from concerns that it would provoke protests and security threats.

The decision resulted in harsh criticism from the WTA, a coverage boycott by the Tennis Channel and the Wall Street Journal Europe’s pulling its sponsorship of the women’s event.

In the wake of the fiasco on the women’s side, Israeli player Andy Ram was granted a visa by the United Arab Emirates to play in the men’s Dubai tournament next week.

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