- The WTA has not mentioned how many tournaments would be suspended.
- The officials have called on the International Olympic Committee to consider the matter.
The Women’s Tennis Association has decided to cancel all the upcoming tournaments that were planned in China owing to Peng Shuai’s safety. The CEO and Chairman Steve Simon released a statement to announce the same. This decision was taken after tennis star Peng Shuai accused a powerful politician, Zhang Gaoli of sexually assaulting her.
It is to be noted that when this incident came to light, the Chinese government decided to take down her social media post on Weibo. There were also major concerns over her safety for the weeks to follow.
Addressing this, Simon stated, “Unfortunately, the leadership in China has not addressed this very serious issue in any credible way. While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation”. Furthermore, a proper transparent investigation into the matter has been called for. It is also to be noted that the WTA has not mentioned how many tournaments would be suspended.
Simon remains concerned about players’ and staff members’ safety if tournaments would continue to take place in China. Notably, after the accusation of sexual assault, Peng Shuai went missing and there had been no information on where she was. This became a major concern for the Women’s Tennis Association members. Other players, staff and members of the tennis fraternity questioned her safety and whereabouts.
Steve Simon then sent Peng Shuai an email, which was followed by a 30-minutes video call after which the officials were relaxed about her safety. Steve unfortunately questioned the authenticity of the email and video call.
“The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she is safe”, quoted Steve.
The Sport & Rights Alliance are in support of WTA’s decision. The officials have called on the International Olympic Committee to consider the matter, owing to the fact that there are just two months to go for the Winter Olympic games in Beijing.