Wimbledon is set to give Ukrainian refugees free tickets to the tournament. Similarly, the organisers will also donate 250,000 pounds (2.3 crores) to those affected by Russia’s invasion of the country. The news was announced by the All England Lawn Tennis Club on Friday.
The Chief Executive of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), Scott Lloyd, made a statement addressing their contribution to the humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. He said, “On the eve of The Championships I believe it is important that we acknowledge those that are suffering so greatly due to the unrelenting conflict imposed upon Ukraine. In partnership with the AELTC, we wanted to show, on behalf of British tennis, our ongoing support for those that are most impacted by providing a contribution to the humanitarian efforts for their aid,” he continued.
The LTA has decided to go through with this venture in collaboration with the All England Club. The AELTC Chairman, Ian Hewitt, talked about how Wimbledon will create a special atmosphere for the refugees. He commented, “I’m delighted that Ukrainian refugees hosted across Merton and Wandsworth will be joining us for play on Middle Sunday at Wimbledon, which we hope will have a very special atmosphere in its first year as part of the tournament schedule. I’m also delighted that in partnership with the LTA, we have been able to commit an additional £250,000 towards the humanitarian response in Ukraine.”
Reasons for the Ban
After the invasion, Wimbledon issued a ban on Russian and Belarusian players from the tournament. The decision led to the men’s ATP Tour and women’s WTA Tour taking away their ranking points. But defending their decision, Wimbledon put forth two major reasons why the tournament had implemented the ban.
The first reason was player safety as athletes are required to submit individual letters denouncing the Russian government to participate by UK law which could affect the safety of the player and the tournament. While the second reason was the idea of not promoting Russian propaganda by having players from that country succeed in the tournament.
The 2022 edition of the tournament will start on 27 June.