SONY ERICSSON WTA TOUR LEVIES LARGEST EVER FINANCIAL PENALTIES AND SETS CONDITIONS FOR FUTURE OF DUBAI TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, USA – Following a special meeting of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Board conducted earlier today in connection with the decision by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this past week to deny the visa application of Israeli Tour player Shahar Peer, the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour announced that effective immediately it is taking the actions described below.
Commenting on today’s actions, Larry Scott, Chairman & CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour stated: “The actions taken today are intended to redress the wrongs suffered by Shahar Peer, who was victimized by an unjust policy of discrimination by the UAE. 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. Thanks to the courage of Shahar, and all those individuals and organizations – including her fellow players – that supported her, the UAE has changed their policy and another barrier of discrimination has fallen.”
Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Actions in re Shahar Peer, Anna Lena Groenefeld and Dubai Tournament:
· 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 US$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 US$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 US$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 US$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.