A statement from the All England Club, which oversees the tournament, said: “Our present intention is to accept participation of players from Russia and Belarus on the condition that they compete in a neutral capacity and comply with appropriate conditions, including the prohibition of expressions of support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine in various forms.
The organizers of the Wimbledon Championships, which is the third of the four major tennis tournaments, announced on Friday that they have the “intention” to allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian players in this year’s edition after they were banned last year due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A statement from the All England Club, which oversees the tournament, said: “Our present intention is to accept participation from players from Russia and Belarus, provided they compete on a neutral basis and comply with appropriate conditions, including the prohibition of expressions of support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine in various forms. and/or Belarusian.
The ban of Russian and Belarusian players from Wimbledon last year sparked widespread controversy and angered the Professional Players Association, and the professional female players, who decided not to award tournament points to the participants in response to the organizers’ decision.
The two associations welcomed this decision on Friday, and said in a joint statement: “We are pleased that all players will have the opportunity to compete at Wimbledon this summer. It took effort and cooperation across the sport to find a practical solution that protects the fairness of the game.”
The organizers of the Wimbledon Championships, which will be scheduled between July 3 and 16, explained three things that contributed to their reversal of their decision this year, noting that “the option of personal statements for players was not applicable in our opinion last year. Since then, extensive dialogue with the British government and international bodies has led Tennis stakeholders have sought to clarify and develop the format of the statements and have produced practical measures for their implementation.
Secondly, they continued: “There was a very strong and disappointing reaction from some of tennis’ governing bodies” to last year’s decision “with consequences that, if continued, would be detrimental to the interests of players, fans, the Championship and British tennis.”
Third, they added: “Tennis outside the UK events over the past year have seen players from Russia and Belarus participate as neutrals. We consider synergy between major tournaments to be increasingly important in the current tennis environment.”
And while many sports federations around the world prevented the participation of players or teams from Russia and Belarus in their competitions, tennis was one of the rare sports that allowed their participation under a neutral flag.
Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Club, said: “This was a very difficult decision, and one not taken lightly or without a great deal of consideration for those who will be affected by it.”
“If circumstances change materially between now and the start of the tournament, we will look into it and act accordingly.”