I am announcing the immediate suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong. In good conscience, I don’t see how I can ask our athletes to participate in tournaments when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has apparently been pressured to reverse his claims of sexual abuse, wrote Steve Simon in a press release.
In view of the current situation of the matter, I am also very concerned about the risks that all our players and our employees would take if we had tournaments in China in 2022., he adds.
I am not really surprised. I am perhaps surprised at how quickly this decision arrives, declared Eugène Lapierre, vice-president of Tennis Canada, at TurnedNews.com Sports. I think that confirms very strong leadership on the part of the WTA Board of Directors and its CEO, Steve Simon. He did not deviate a comma from what he had said from the start. We haven’t had a discussion with him, I think it’s for next week with the tournament council on which I sit. We will certainly discuss this situation.
” Maybe it’s sending the signal that this is all serious and giving more time for the tournaments at the end of the year – because there are about ten tournaments in China, but they are all in the last portion of the year, from the end of September until the end of the year. This is probably why this announcement is so early, to say that if we have to go in this direction, we will have time to prepare. “
No WTA tournament was planned before the end of the year and the 2022 schedule has yet to be released.
The big boss of the circuit hinted at The Associated Press on Wednesday that the cancellation of the tournaments could last beyond 2022.
We hope to get to the right place, but we are ready, if the situation continues like this – which has not been productive so far – not to operate in the regionSteve Simon said in a video call from California.
It is an organizational effort that is genuinely about right and wrong.
During the 2019 season, the last not to be affected by COVID-19, 10 tournaments were organized in China, including the WTA finals which, with $ 14 million, had been better endowed financially than their equivalent. male.
The WTA will do everything possible to protect its players, argued Steve Simon. Along with us, I hope that the leaders of the world will continue to stand up for justice for Peng, and all women, regardless of the financial consequences.
An opinion which is shared by the former Canadian ambassador to China, Guy St-Jacques.
I am surprised by the silence of the Canadian government on this, especially when we know that the European Union has asked for a full investigation to find out what happened, said the former ambassador to Radio- Canada Sports. I do not understand why the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, or the Minister of Sports, Pascale St-Onge, do not make a public statement to support the association, congratulate the association for its persistence and say that we must shed light on this and that it is time for China to take sexual assault cases seriously and investigate them.
Peng Shuai, 35, disappeared days in November after accusing a former top Chinese Communist leader of sexual abuse.
The young woman reappeared on November 21 in a restaurant in Beijing and during a tennis tournament held in the Chinese capital, according to videos published by official media.
She also had a videoconference dialogue with the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach.
According to the IOC, Peng Shuai explained that she was
safe and sound at her home in Beijing, but that she would like her privacy to be respected. Chinese Olympic Committee member Li Lingwei participated in the video conference with Thomas Bach.
I think China must be rethinking its strategy, Guy St-Jacques analyzes. It is clear that the Chinese authorities believed that by asking the IOC to get involved, by asking Mr. Bach to have a conversation with Ms. Peng, they probably believed that it was enough to satisfy everyone.
” What China fears is a contagion effect, in the sense that the movement #MeToo failed to take. It has been very controlled, and I am sure there have been many other cases in China, similar to Ms. Peng’s, when you know how athletes are recruited when they are young and how they are learned. developed. All this risks tarnishing the image of China and particularly the image of the Chinese Communist Party. “
Many stars of world tennis, from Chris Evert to Novak Djokovic, and several Western countries, notably France and the United States, but also the European Union and the UN, have called on Beijing to shed light on the fate. by Peng Shuai.
Support from ATP, the men’s circuit, will it come? This would be desirable according to Eugène Lapierre.
: we cannot allow censorship on such an important subject to take place. It is to Steve Simon and his organization to make this decision. As to whether the other institutions in tennis will follow, we’ll see. “,” Text “:” To tell you frankly, one would think that ATP will support the decision of the WTA, said Mr. Lapierre. I might be surprised if they would go so far as to cancel their activities there, same with the International Tennis Federation (ITF). For our part, at Tennis Canada, we have said it from the start, we support this decision. We think it’s the right thing to do. His message is very clear: we cannot allow censorship on such an important subject to take place. It is to Steve Simon and his organization to make this decision. As to whether the other tennis institutions will follow, we’ll see. “}}”>Frankly, you’d think ATP would support the WTA’s decision, Lapierre said. I might be surprised if they would go so far as to cancel their activities there, same with the International Tennis Federation (ITF). For our part, at Tennis Canada, we have said it from the start, we support this decision. We think it’s the right thing to do. His message is very clear: we cannot allow censorship on such an important subject to take place. It is to Steve Simon and his organization to make this decision. As to whether the other tennis institutions will follow, we will see.
The ITF only underscored the righteousness of the WTA in a short statement to AFP:
the WTA has stood firm and true to its values from the start and we understand their decision. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.
The WTA told AFP last Saturday that Steve Simon had sent the player two emails, but that he
was clear that his answers were influenced by others, adding that he remained
deeply worried as to his situation.