The discussions related to the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian tennis players from the next edition of the Wimbledon tournament do not intend to subside. The organizers of the London Slam explained their reasons by issuing a long statement and organizing a press conference.
Press conference in which Ian Hewitt obviously also took part. “After long and careful consideration, we have come to two conclusions on which our decisions are based,” said the president of the All England Club.
“Even if we accept the participation of Russians and Belarusians with written declarations, we risk that their winning participation will be used as propaganda by the Russian regime. Which we could not accept.
We also need to ensure that our every action does not put the players or their families at risk. Following the directives of the Government, there is no valid alternative to the decision taken in this tragic and particular circumstance.”
Wimbledon: the president of the IOC raises the alarm
On the delicate subject, during the 46th General Assembly of ASOIF (The Association of International Federations of Summer Olympic Sports), the president of the IOC Thomas Bach also spoke.
Bach explained: “How can we ensure fair international competition if governments decide on the basis of their political interests who can and who cannot participate? We need governments to respect our role.
Look what is happening in tennis. At the Roland Garros, the players participated as neutral athletes. But at Wimbledon the government said no, there is no room for them. If we allow this, then we are lost.
If we allow it today against Russia and Belarus, tomorrow it will happen against your nation, because no country in the world is loved by all other governments. If we leave these choices to governments, then we too become a political tool and this goes against all our principles.
If we let that happen, we will no longer be able to guarantee fair sporting competition. It is important for the whole world to have at least one bridge, something that everyone can agree on, and the most natural element for this is sport.”