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eshell
Feb 24th, 2003, 07:59 PM
Someone posed a similar thought to Wertheim. Here is the question and his response.

Why does the WTA Tour allow tournaments to be held in countries which discriminate against players? I'm talking about the tournaments in the United Arab Emirates, which Israelis are not allowed to enter. I understand that the WTA might not want to get into politics, but this isn't about politics, it's about making sure all WTA players receive a fair shot. If as a matter of policy a country excludes certain people and refuses to make an exception for sports, the WTA should not hold a tournament in that country. Even if we set aside the notion that sport should rise above conflict and bring people together -- which makes this discrimination even more unfortunate -- the main thing here is that the WTA is responsible for all its members being treated equally. If the UAE tourneys don't do that, then the WTA should move these events elsewhere.
óNoga, Jerusalem

I'm guessing that this was a hot topic in tennis chat rooms last week, because we received a number of questions raising this problematic issue. I made some calls to various agencies, including the Israeli consulate and the U.S. State Department, and generally speaking you're correct: The UAE doesn't have diplomatic relations with Israel, and thus Israeli citizens are not permitted to enter the country. Exceptions can be made -- and probably would be made in the case of professional athletes -- but your point is well taken.

Let's be clear: This isn't about whether you support or oppose Ariel Sharon's government or whether Country A should have the right to issue a blanket ban on citizens of Country B. The issue is whether the WTA and ATP tours should be in the business of sanctioning events in countries where some of their player-members are denied entrance. (You and most of the other e-mailers mentioned the WTA, but the men's event in Dubai kicks off today.) This is an obvious and, admittedly, imperfect analogy, but we'll make it anyway: If a country (or club) had a whites-only policy, would either tour ever consider holding an event there?

I posed this question to both tours. The WTA basically declined to comment. A spokesman explained that the tour doesn't discuss specific policies as they relate to tournaments. (This, of course, is more than a little disingenuous: Did the WTA not just issue a discursive press release on various new policies pertaining to the year-end championships?)

As for the men, here's an unofficial statement from Mark Young, ATP executive vice president/general counsel:


Prior to sanctioning the ATP tournament in Dubai, ATP chief operating officer Larry Scott traveled there to receive assurances that any eligible player, regardless of his nationality, would be allowed to participate in the event. The organizers provided Scott with the necessary assurances. The ATP, which represents a culturally diverse international population of tournaments and players, would not sanction an event anywhere in the world without a guarantee that any eligible player be allowed to play.
A few points:


It's reassuring that the ATP was concerned about this issue. But the notion that "any eligible player would be allowed to participate" isn't altogether satisfactory. You could argue that it's reminiscent of the all-white clubs that allowed black jazz bands to come and perform on weekends. If an Israeli player's coach or parent or significant other isn't allowed in the country, is he or she really going to feel welcome at the event?

The men, deservedly so, received all sorts of glowing publicity from the Amir Haddad/Sam Qureshi doubles team; Haddad, an Israeli, and Qureshi, a Pakistani, recently won the ATP's Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award for promoting "tolerance through tennis." Is it really consistent for the ATP to be giving its imprimatur to events that, for all intents, forbid one of its members from playing? (Come to think of it, it would also be interesting to know whether Qureshi is able to enter the ATP events held in India.)

Quite apart from the Israeli-exclusion policy, it was in Dubai that a French businesswoman recently was allegedly gang-raped and then jailed without a trial for having had "illicit sexual relations" under Sharia law. Why would players -- including a certain fortysomething doubles specialist who's usually admirably outspoken about social injustice -- agree to compete in this country? Both the "his" and "hers" Dubai tournaments are notorious for hurling money around like it's going out of style. Stories abound of tour officials being plied with jewel-encrusted watches and players receiving gold bars and exotic ponies as "gifts" for entering. Let's just say that the abundance of money is not an insignificant factor in any decisions about the Dubai event.

One of tennis' great virtues is its international composition. No other individual sport brings together players from so many other countries. It's terrific that the appeal of tennis expands to Muslim countries, and it's particularly terrific that a women's event is being played openly in the UAE. If in some small way tennis can transcend politics and help break down boundaries and demystify people, cultures and countries, we are all better for it. But as a matter of principle, the ATP and WTA cannot in good conscience justify sanctioning an event in which any member is, de facto or de jure, prohibited from playing.

Please forgive me for posting this twice.

:)

ASV
Feb 24th, 2003, 08:09 PM
I-girl is Noga!!!

COOL!

Nimi
Feb 24th, 2003, 08:11 PM
Noga always gets what she wants.
That bitch :p

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Feb 24th, 2003, 08:25 PM
Extremely respectable of Wertheim. I appreciated his insight to this and just wish somehow the players with clout would feel the same way.

I'm glad Venus pulled out of Dubai -- but I wish she would have made some statement about not wanting to play in an opressive environment ;)

RAA
Feb 24th, 2003, 08:59 PM
Yes, I saw that too. Great job on getting some publicity on the issue!!

Big thumbs DOWN to the WTA for issuing essentially a "no comment" on the issue. At least it APPEARS that the ATP is looking to safeguard the interests of its players. SHame on the WTA for not taking a stand on this.

I have to say that this is one issue I really never knew about and I'm pleased to have learned about it so I can educate others..

~ The Leopard ~
Feb 24th, 2003, 09:02 PM
Noga, I love you!! :hearts: (But you knew that.)

Seriously, well done buddy. Congratulations for taking this up and being heard. And it's a good response from Wertheim. He deserves a lot of credit for saying this. I hope it has some impact.

Hopefully he'll see our views when he's lurking around on the boards, which I'm sure he does. I hope this thread gets a lot of supportive responses.

Infiniti2001
Feb 24th, 2003, 09:06 PM
I'm glad Venus pulled out of Dubai -- but I wish she would have made some statement about not wanting to play in an opressive environment


You and me both.. I was disappointed when I read that she was commited for the 2nd year in a row. I'm also extremely disappointed with the WTA. Why in the world are the women allowed to play in countries where women have been historically and continually oppressed??? It's just sickening that rich oil sheiks could seat on their asses and gawk at western women while their women are kept covered ugh :fiery:

Good going igirl, maybe we should all write to the WTA :)

griffin
Feb 24th, 2003, 09:14 PM
Great job, Noga!

(heh, heh, we should use WErtheim as our mouthpiece more often)

*JR*
Feb 24th, 2003, 09:28 PM
Notice also that Jon made 2 specific references to racial discriminaton: that an event wouldn't be held in a whites only venue AND that a waiver just ain't it, as it's like the old black musicians play for all white audience thing. In other words, discrimination is discrimination, period, whoever happens 2B on the receiving end today. And notice that he mentioned getting other e-mails on this (but picked this one to print). Noga rulz! :)

Hulet
Feb 24th, 2003, 10:19 PM
Does anyone know what U.S policy with regards to athlets representing Iraq? Thanks.

Btw, I am sure Noga (if she is really I-girl) would oppose Wertheims attempt to compare banning Israeli's from Arab countries with discriminations against blacks. According to I-girl's own word:


I have said many times that I think the attempts to make a comparison between the I-P conflict and the discrimination against Black people is lazy and inaccurate, and is only made because it provides a quick and easy way to find who you want to blame for the situation, without actually having to understand it. the apartheid is so much more one sided than our conflict. it's very clear who's in the wrong there. one side is doing all the evil, and the other side is nothing but a victim. that is hardly the case in our conflict, in which both sides are hurting each other, and both sides are in the wrong. as a black person, I expect you to be the first one to object to this comparison, because it takes away from the definitive evil of apartheid.

auntie janie
Feb 24th, 2003, 10:20 PM
I am impressed with Jon Wertheim's serious and thoughtful response to this urgent issue, and I am really glad he was apparently barraged with questions about it. Not surprised to hear the WTA refused to answer; that is just what I would expect from this hopelessly inept organization. :rolleyes:

*JR*
Feb 24th, 2003, 10:26 PM
Originally posted by eta psi
Does anyone know what U.S policy with regards to athlets representing Iraq? Thanks. No, BUT: we don't have diplomatic relations with Iran either, and our national soccer team went there to play an exhibition match about a year ago. I believe there's a reciprocal offer for the U.S. to host a rematch.

Hulet
Feb 24th, 2003, 10:29 PM
rd, the difference is US doesn't enforce a sanction against Iranian goverment (as far as I know), but does so against Iraqi goverment. I am just interested on how far this sanction interferes in sports.

*JR*
Feb 24th, 2003, 10:47 PM
eta, do we WANT a situation where INTERNATIONAL bodies like the WTA and ATP abide by one country's "cold war" with another (as the gulf states and Israel have never been close to going to war)? Now if sanctions are multilateral, as with 1980's South Africa, it's clear and targeted. If most of the world's population boycotted Israel, perhaps it would be comparable, even if the U.S. had vetoed the boycott in the UN. That's certainly not the case. (I seem to recall Smash playing in Shanghai, for example). And Cuban teams in various sports are welcome here despite those sanctions; their OWN government limits such team visits due to players defecting. A couple of our baseball teams have also played there, and I believe the er, "red carpet" is still rolled out for such visits.

Car Key Boi
Feb 24th, 2003, 11:13 PM
Wertheim is a bit of a tard but nonetheless great work Legal Gurl :hearts:

- Car Key Boi

*JR*
Feb 25th, 2003, 12:07 AM
Boi, Wertheim writes the troof! :p

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Feb 25th, 2003, 12:40 AM
The USA has no "bans" on players coming here, nor does it have any "bans" on entering the country based on nationality.

You just have to go through the applicable process of visas and all that good stuff (which I'm not that familiar with) to get here.

The only thing I can think of for the USA is that we are not allowed to go to Cuba straight from USA. We can go to the Bahamas, then Cuba, or whatever, but not straight from the USA.....go figure, lol.

Zummi
Feb 25th, 2003, 03:31 AM
There are many direct flights available between the U.S. and Cuba. Check this site for more: http://www.cuba-usa.com/travel.html

hingis-seles
Feb 25th, 2003, 05:18 AM
I think the only reason they don't allow Israeli players to participate is because they don't recognize Israel as a country. How can they have players participate in a tournament from a country they don't recognize?

i-girl
Feb 25th, 2003, 05:49 AM
hey, look at me, I'm a tennis celebrity. ;)

it was very good of him to not chicken out of the question, but give it the serious discussion it deserved.

and you're right, EP. I think corolating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the Black-White situation is always a mistake, and I was careful not to make that corolation myself. in this case, the basic distinction is that the cause for the ban is a political rivalry, not a notion of inferiority (or so I hope, at least), and as an Israeli, I'm not objecting to the actual ban, only to the WTA's unwillingness to consider it a reason not to hold their tourny there. that said, I can see why Wertheim and others would turn to this corolation, the end result is the same- people are left out.

TS
Feb 25th, 2003, 06:15 AM
Well done Noga :)

*JR*
Feb 25th, 2003, 11:20 AM
Noga, not only didn't he avoid the issue, but gave a long answer to one query (yours, of course, talented one ;)), instead of briefer answers to different ones as is more often the case. And easily swatted down the "waiver" copout. In reply to hingis-seles AND Noga, the question isn't the WTA holding a tournament in such a venue; Dubai can offer a $10MM winners check if they want for an EXHIBITION event. It's the WTA (and ATP, as Wertheim pointed out) sanctioning them and awarding points. If they didn't, let the players stand up and be counted one way or the other. (I doubt that an exhibition tournament would be held without being recognized by a Tour). So h-s, it should be WTA/ATP to a country with a self-justifying excuse like "We'd love to let her and her guests in, but golly, we can't": "OK. You can treat players unfairly. We can withhold recognizing your tournament".

Beat
Feb 25th, 2003, 11:30 AM
Originally posted by eshell
[B]I posed this question to both tours. The WTA basically declined to comment. A spokesman explained that the tour doesn't discuss specific policies as they relate to tournaments.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

tamara77
Feb 25th, 2003, 11:41 AM
Noga :wavey: congrats for bringing this up and getting such an answer.

BTW, as a fellow-Jerusalem native, are you also covered under mountains of snow and have a day off ? :lick:

King Aaron
Feb 25th, 2003, 01:37 PM
:D Thumbs up for Noga!

Volcana
Feb 25th, 2003, 02:04 PM
Isn't this the same Jon Wertheim who is roundly scorned here almost everytime we post something he writes? I like the guy, but I really do expect that all his critics from the apst would at least make an entrance and condemn this response too.

i-girl, this opinon seems inconsistent
in this case, the basic distinction is that the cause for the ban is a political rivalry, not a notion of inferiority (or so I hope, at least), and as an Israeli, I'm not objecting to the actual ban, only to the WTA's unwillingness to consider it a reason not to hold their tourny there. that said, I can see why Wertheim and others would turn to this corolation, the end result is the same- people are left out.

By that logic, most correlations between the Palestinian-Israeli situation and the Black-White situation in the USA are valid. The end result is people are left out.

Also, if the ban isn't objectionable, why SHOULDN'T the WTA hold tournaments there?

Lastly, there is much validity to the comparison. The main difference is time. The I-P conflict is more like where race relations in the USA were in the 1960's. An extremly high death toll for the party with less power, but a still significant, but much lower death toll for the party with more power.

Then again, we've stated our views on this before, and my guess is we're no closer to agreement. Ah well, at least we're not shooting at each other.

miranda_lou
Feb 25th, 2003, 02:07 PM
Why in the world are the women allowed to play in countries where women have been historically and continually oppressed???

Let me think for a minute . . . . MONEY.:rolleyes:

Like Wertheim said, there is a lot of money rolling around over there and some players play mostly for the money.:o I seriously doubt Jennifer Capriati knows anything or cares anything about the suffering women in the Arab world. She does know she will receive a very large appearance fee for showing up. Perhaps those of you who are upset by this tournament should speak to the players involved rather than the WTA. I don't think the women are "allowed" to play so much as they WANT to play. Perhaps the WTA is taking the easiest route. If they told player they could not play in Dubai they would be subjected to law suits for preventing them from "earning a living" or whatever.:( I'm not condoning any of this but there are reasons. Most of the time, organizations like the WTA want to take the path of least resistance.:rolleyes:

Greenout
Feb 25th, 2003, 02:16 PM
Bravo I-Girl!

The dirty secret is out in the open.
Just thrilled to see a serious thread of our forum
get some media coverage. We've hit the WTA's
raw nerve. I'm curious; will the ITF pay
any attention to this issue? What will the WTA do?

williamsfan
Feb 25th, 2003, 02:19 PM
[QUOTE]The USA has no "bans" on players coming here, nor does it have any "bans" on
entering the country based on nationality.

You just have to go through the applicable process of visas and all that good stuff (which I'm not that familiar with) to get here.

I heard somewhere that Christians traveling to Arab countries can't wear the cross with Jesus or carry a Bible.
Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Hulet
Feb 25th, 2003, 02:49 PM
Originally posted by williamsfan
...
I heard somewhere that Christians traveling to Arab countries can't wear the cross with Jesus or carry a Bible.
Please correct me if I'm wrong.
I think that is a load of bull. There are a lot of christians, mostly Eastern Orthodox christians, in Arab countries such as in Syria, palestine and Egypt. I should know b/c I am an orthodox. Through out history, muslims has mostly tolerated other faiths. So I think you are also being duped by the now fashionable and popular negative propaganda machine against moslem and arab countries.

Thanks, rd, I-girl and joshua for the response. I don't have a problem with WTA/ATP if it stops running their tournaments in Dubai/Doha. But, make no mistake about it, such a decision is also political b/c it is basically a stand against a boycott of Israel by Arab countries.

williamsfan
Feb 25th, 2003, 03:06 PM
Thanks for clarifying eta psi:D

*JR*
Feb 25th, 2003, 03:08 PM
Originally posted by miranda_lou
If they told player they could not play in Dubai they would be subjected to law suits for preventing them from "earning a living" or whatever.:( I'm not condoning any of this but there are reasons. Most of the time, organizations like the WTA want to take the path of least resistance.:rolleyes: Lou, in my last post in this thread, I said that any country can pay those who would show up whatever they agree upon as far as I'm concerned (of course their sponsors and the buyers of what they're paid to endorse can then ALSO "vote with their wallets" if they so choose). Keep in mind that there are ALREADY paid exhibitions, like Monica vs. Anna in Canada late in '02. The tours (both) need not prohibit any players from selling their services. All they have to do is disassociate themselves by awarding no points of any sort. What am I missing here? :confused:

ASV
Feb 25th, 2003, 07:49 PM
Does anyone know the phone number for the President of the ITF? I would like to call him/her and ask them about it.

miranda_lou
Feb 25th, 2003, 08:24 PM
Keep in mind that there are ALREADY paid exhibitions, like Monica vs. Anna in Canada late in '02. The tours (both) need not prohibit any players from selling their services. All they have to do is disassociate themselves by awarding no points of any sort. What am I missing here?

I don't know if you are "missing" anything.:rolleyes: I do know: (1) there is probably way more appearance money in Dubai than those other exhibitions (so if it became just an exhibition the same players would still be there); (2) none of us have any idea if the WTA (or someone in charge there) is getting a little bit "under the table" to make this a real tournament; (3) as stated before, most of the players are only thinking about the money and don't know or don't care about the politics and (4) maybe the players are attracted by the luxury as well as the money and just want to be pampered and adored for a week. (Okay, that last one is silly.)

I agree that the WTA could and should disassociate themselves from this tournament but that won't stop the players from going there if the money is still available and I doubt the WTA will disassociate themselves from it. They know that in a few weeks most people will forget about Dubai (not on this board, but everywhere else) and they can just sit back and wait until next year. Perhaps by then they will think of an answer to Jon Wertheim.:o In fact, this board and Wertheim's column are the only places I've even seen this discussed. Most people are probably say "Hey. It's just tennis.":cool:

Infiniti2001
Feb 25th, 2003, 08:37 PM
I think the only reason they don't allow Israeli players to participate is because they don't recognize Israel as a country. How can they have players participate in a tournament from a country they don't recognize?


And that makes it okay??? The nerve of these countries with such prehistoric thinking (especially) Saudi Arabia (the supposed friends of the US) :rolleyes:

Hagar
Feb 25th, 2003, 08:59 PM
Wertheim rocks. And Israel's policy towards the Palestines sucks big time.