Dubai update: WTA imposes sanctions

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It didn’t take long for the WTA’s promised sanctions to be levied on the Dubai tournament, which earned world-wide criticism when the United Arab Emirates refused to issue a visa to tennis player Shahar Peer of Israel.

Larry Scott, the WTA’s chairman and chief executive officer, promised there would be ramifications and this afternoon announced a series of actions to ‘send the message that the tour would not tolerate discrimination of any kind and we will never allow this situation to happen again, in UAE, or elsewhere.’

Peer has been supported by her, well, peers.

But, sadly, their support has rung hollow, coming in the form of words, not action. ESPN’s Jemele Hill took a closer look at what Venus Williams had to say in Dubai this week and wished both Venus and her sister Serena had shown the same ‘backbone and determination this week in Dubai’ that they’ve shown in boycotting Indian Wells.


Meanwhile, the tour’s release detailing the various sanctions against the tournament follows:

Shahar Peer Ranking Points -- The awarding of 130 ranking points to Shahar Peer –- an amount equal to the points that she earned during the same week in 2008 (week of Memphis) that she was unable to defend this past week in Dubai as a result of the denial of her entry visa by UAE. Such points will remain on Ms. Peer’s ranking until such time as she has had an opportunity to earn equivalent points at the next tournament offering ranking points equal to the Dubai tournament. Shahar Peer Prize Money –- The awarding of $44,250 to Shahar Peer -– an amount equal to the average prize money that she earned per tournament (singles and doubles) in 2008, grossed up to take account for the increased prize money on offer at 2009 tournaments. Anna Lena Groenefeld Prize Money –- The awarding of $7,950 to Anna Lena Groenefeld, who was to be Shahar Peer’s doubles partner in Dubai and who was unable to compete in doubles with Ms. Peer as a result of the denial of Ms. Peer’s entry visa by UAE. This amount is equal to the average prize money that she earned per tournament in doubles in 2008, grossed up to take account for the increased prize money on offer at 2009 tournaments.

Dubai Tennis Championships Financial Penalty –- The fining of the Dubai tournament $300,000 for breach of Tour Rules, By-Laws and conditions of membership related to the denial of entry to Shahar Peer. This fine amount represents the highest fine ever levied against a Tour member. Proceeds from the fine shall be used to compensate each of Ms. Peer and Ms. Groenefeld, with the balance to be donated to a charity or charities, to be determined by the Tour in consultation with Ms. Peer.

Dubai Tennis Championships Financial Performance Guarantee -– The posting by the Dubai tournament of a $2-million financial performance guarantee by July 1, 2009 that the conditions described below will be satisfied.

Dubai Tennis Championships Conditions for Continued Membership –- The establishment of a series of conditions to be met by the Dubai tournament in order to maintain its membership and be included on the Tour’s 2010 calendar, including: (i) confirmation of the written assurances already received that all players who qualify for the tournament shall, regardless of nationality, or any other reason, be allowed to play in the Dubai event and shall be issued entry visas or permits, (ii) proof of approved UAE entry permit to enter the UAE for any Israeli player a minimum of eight (8) weeks prior to the start of the 2010 Dubai tournament, and (iii) guarantee that Ms. Peer shall be offered a wildcard to play the Dubai tournament in 2010 in the event that she does not qualify by ranking.

-- Lisa Dillman