Tennis News

Tennis-Dubai organisers to decide whether to appeal record fine

DUBAI, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Organisers of the Dubai Championships will decide in the next few days whether to appeal the record $300,000 they have been fined by the governing body of women’s tennis (WTA).

The punishment was given after Israeli Shahar Peer was barred from taking part in this week’s tournament because she was denied a visa for the United Arab Emirates.

“There is an appeal situation if we want to use it, in the WTA rule book, but we have not gone into detail on it,” Colm McLoughlin, managing director of tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free, told reporters on Saturday.

“I recognise the WTA have an issue with their rules. We are looking at it (the fine) and will respond in a few days.

“When we assess it, if we decide we have to pay the fine then we will pay it. But we have not made that decision. We have to sit down and just look at it.

“Neither Dubai Duty Free nor the tournament issues visas. We request them. It is the immigration authorities and sometimes the security people who make the decisions.”

The UAE, like most Arab countries has no diplomatic ties with Israel and routinely denies entry to its citizens.

Tensions have been heightened after the three-week Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip, which killed 1,300 Palestinians and 14 Israelis. The attack ended in January but caused anger in the Arab and Muslim worlds. Israel said it acted in defence of rocket attacks from the Gaza strip.

After international condemnation for excluding Peer the UAE on Thursday changed its policy of barring Israeli athletes. Israeli doubles specialist Andy Ram was given special permission to compete in next week’s men’s tournament in Dubai, ensuring the event goes ahead as planned.

Editing by Alison Wildey