God, this whole story just gets funnier and funnier (in a sad sad way). The Wall Street Journal Europe has pulled its sponsorship of the Dubai tournament, citing it's "free markets, free people" editorial philosophy. Nice move, but still, I don't see how that impacts the tourney's bottom line.
But the name sponsor, Barclays Bank, will not be pulling its sponsorship:
So...you're going to honor an agreement you signed with a party that refuses to honor an agreement based on your conviction that agreements should be honored.
Riiiiiight. Way to stand up for...integrity?
Meanwhile, the sackless tourney organizers are going with the security excuse for the visa denials:
“The Tournament is a longstanding and loyal supporter of women’s tennis and the WTA Tour and respects the rules and regulations of the Tour. [C Note says...bullshit]
The Tournament also respects Ms. Shahar Peer as a professional tennis player on the Tour and understands her disappointment. [C Note says...bullshit bullshit]
There were several elements to be considered concerning her participation [C Note says...bullshit bullshit bullshit. There was only ONE element considered in denying her visa.]:
*Public sentiment remains high in the Middle East and it is believed that Ms. Peer’s presence would have antagonized our fans who have watched live television coverage of recent attacks in Gaza.
*Ms. Peer personally witnessed protests against her at another tournament in New Zealand only a few weeks ago.
*Concern was raised about her wellbeing and her presence triggering similar protests. Given public sentiment, the entire tournament could have been boycotted by protesters.
*We do not wish to politicize sports, but we have to be sensitive to recent events in the region and not alienate or put at risk the players and the many tennis fans of different nationalities that we have here in the UAE.”
What the fuck ever. Shahar doesn't need your patronizing "Oh we did it to protect you" speech. Grow a pair and own up to your decision, douchenuggets. You wanted the tournament, you got it. Get on the phone to Blackwater and have them run the security detail for you. Don't pretend like your country is full of idiots that you can't control.
BTW, here is Shahar's statement:
“In response to the tremendous outpouring of support and empathy over the UAE decision to deny me a visa that would allow me to play in the Dubai Tennis Championships, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to my friends and fans around the world, and my fellow players.
While this is a very difficult moment for me personally and professionally, and the fact that the visa denial was issued at the last moment, I firmly believe that my fellow competitors should not be harmed the way I was - they were in or on their way to Dubai and denying them the right to play in this year’s tournament at the last moment would not make the wrong right. In fact, it troubles me greatly that my doubles partner Anna-Lena Groenefeld from Germany will not be able to compete as we had planned.
Going forward, I am confident that the Tour will take appropriate actions to ensure that this injustice is not allowed to occur in the future, and that the Tour will make sure I will not be further harmed in the short and long term. There should be no place for politics or discrimination in professional tennis or indeed any sport.”
So Roger's out of Dubai. I really hope Rafa, Nole, Muzz, and A-Rod do the same, along with the other top guys. That would be awesome.
“We don’t want (the decision to proceed with the tournament) to be interpreted as complacency and accepting what has happened, because it’s not,” he told the Guardian. “We will take a decision about what is to be done only after consultation with the players and tournament directors.
“We don’t have a timetable on this yet. This is a shock and it has to be digested.”
Scott said he recognized the potential for a problem, but thought the situation was being addressed.
“I knew there was an issue they would have to get over - that they don’t have official relations with Israel - while there are security concerns as well.
“In the last two months we have been in daily contact with them. I am surprised by the decision they took because of the significant ramifications there have been, not only in the world of professional tennis, but to the sporting agenda, and beyond.”