Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba insists Wimbledon “shouldn’t give Putin victories” after allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in this year’s event, asking “what has changed?” Since it was banned in 2022
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has accused Wimbledon of “giving Putin victories” by allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete this year.
The All England Club announced last month that it would lift the ban on competitors from countries responsible for invading Ukraine last year, after not allowing them to participate in 2022.
The ban affected the credibility of the event, as ranking points were stripped from the tournament.
The retraction came after the severe threat of more fines and penalties for the two rounds.
For Kuleba, the decision to overturn the ban “lacks courage,” as he puts it Books in Express: Last year, Wimbledon made the difficult but noble decision to ban competitors from Russia and Belarus.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Wimbledon of ‘lack of courage’.
It comes after the All England club lifted the ban imposed on players from Russia and Belarus following the invasion of Ukraine
Fans at Wimbledon showed their support for the Ukrainian players last year
The organizers deserve credit for doing the right thing. What has changed since then? We should not hand Putin victories.
“If the organizers of Wimbledon lacked courage, the official London could stand firm and shut the door.”
Russian players competing in other tennis tournaments have already sparked controversy, with Anastasia Potapova coming under fire from world number one Iga Swatik for wearing a Spartak Moscow jersey on court in California.
For Wimbledon specifically, Sportsmail’s Mike Dixon raised concerns about Ukrainian players refusing to shake hands with the Russians, as the normally friendly crowd turns hostile and the Princess of Wales is put in the unfortunate position of presenting the trophy.
Ian Hewitt, president of the All England Club, said the decision to overturn the ban was taken reluctantly and under intense pressure from other female tennis players.
“We continue to condemn Russia’s totally illegal invasion, and our sincere support remains with the people of Ukraine,” he insisted.
This was a very difficult decision, taken lightly or without a great deal of consideration for those who would be affected.
In our view, given all the factors, these are the most favorable tournament arrangements for this year.
Anastasia Potapova received a warning from the WTA over this photo she shared on Instagram where the Russian tennis star is seen wearing a Spartak Moscow jersey.
The likes of Aryna Sabalenka (left) and Daniil Medvedev (right) are among those likely to return to the tournament.
We are grateful for the government’s support as we and our fellow tennis authorities have navigated this complex matter and agreed on terms that we believe are applicable.
“If circumstances change materially between now and the start of the tournament, we will look into it and respond accordingly.”
A further statement from the All England Club read: “Our current aim is to accept entries from players from Russia and Belarus provided they compete as ‘neutral’ athletes and adhere to the appropriate conditions.
This will prohibit expressions of support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine in various forms and deny entry to players who receive funding from Russian and/or Belarusian states (including sponsorship from state-run or controlled companies) in connection with their participation in tournaments.”