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View Full Version : WTA finally speaks about Dubai and Israel controversy


spiceboy
Mar 2nd, 2006, 06:06 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/jon_wertheim/03/01/mailbag/index.html

(...)

As for the tennis, as I wrote a few years ago, the U.A.E. does not exactly have a sterling record on women's rights. Further, like other Arab nations, the U.A.E. doesn't have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Reader Lance Harke called this (http://dubaitourism.co.ae/Travel/default.asp?SubCatID=43) link to our attention. Note this prominent line: "Nationals of 'Israel' may not enter the U.A.E." If I'm, say, Shahar Peer, the top-40 Israeli player, I'm sure not happy that my tour is sanctioning events in countries in which I am not welcome. It's not a perfect analogy but we'll make this one anyway: Would the WTA or ATP ever even think about sanctioning an event in a country or club that excluded African-Americans? (Then again, if the country in question were offering $1.5 million in prize money, high six-figure guarantees and had a duty free shop that was a chief sponsor of the tour. Well, maybe. )

We asked the ATP and WTA about this issue and both tours reported that before giving their sanction, they had assurances that no player would be denied entry into the Dubai event. I was struck by how closely the logic parallels President Bush's position on the ports. While this country isn't perfect, let's use this as an opportunity to bridge gaps and establish trust.

Here's WTA CEO Larry Scott: "The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and our player and tournament members believe that through sport we can act as a positive influence for social change and equality, particularly in the area of women's rights. We are one of many sporting organizations that has reached this conclusion on the role that sport can play in diverse countries throughout the world."

Like many of you, I have a hard time with Scott's situational ethics. And I also recognize that the U.A.E.'s monopoly money is playing a huge role in the equation. But another part of me is inclined to give him (and the ATP) the benefit of the doubt. Bringing women's tennis to a moderate Arab country may ultimately lead to improving women's rights as well as a better understanding of the West. Who knows? It might even lead to a day when Peer and the 10 other Israeli players ranked by the WTA don't need special permission to enter the country.

Albireo
Mar 2nd, 2006, 06:36 PM
Here's WTA CEO Larry Scott: "The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and our player and tournament members believe that through sport we can act as a positive influence for social change and equality, particularly in the area of women's rights. We are one of many sporting organizations that has reached this conclusion on the role that sport can play in diverse countries throughout the world."




Google translation into non-bullshit English:

"Our product has a somewhat limited public appeal, so we don't want to take any stand that might jeopardize huge flipping wodges of cash. Plus, we're bringing exposed midriffs and hot legs to parts of the world that desperately need to see them."

Helas
Mar 2nd, 2006, 06:38 PM
Google translation into non-bullshit English:

"Our product has a somewhat limited public appeal, so we don't want to take any stand that might jeopardize huge flipping wodges of cash. Plus, we're bringing exposed midriffs and hot legs to parts of the world that desperately need to see them."

Lol! :lol:

tenn_ace
Mar 2nd, 2006, 06:39 PM
USA didn't extend an invitation to Cuba to play some big baseball tournament... I don't see sportillustrated making a big stink becuase of it.... :p a country full of hypocrits

griffin
Mar 2nd, 2006, 06:57 PM
everybody sing "said I, I, I, ain't gonna play Sun City..."

Nice tap-dance, though.

Carmen Mairena
Mar 2nd, 2006, 08:11 PM
Would the WTA or ATP ever even think about sanctioning an event in a country or club that excluded African-Americans? (Then again, if the country in question were offering $1.5 million in prize money, high six-figure guarantees and had a duty free shop that was a chief sponsor of the tour. Well, maybe. )

Of course they would. :rolleyes: :smash:


We asked the ATP and WTA about this issue and both tours reported that before giving their sanction, they had assurances that no player would be denied entry into the Dubai event.

:haha: :lol: :haha:


Here's WTA retard :retard: Larry Scott :retard: : "The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and our player and tournament members believe that through sport we can act as a positive influence for social change and equality, particularly in the area of women's rights. We are one of many sporting organizations that has reached this conclusion on the role that sport can play in diverse countries throughout the world."

Motherf****r :retard: :smash:

goldenlox
Mar 3rd, 2006, 02:38 PM
This is a part of politics and business.
If someone will play top dollar, political ideals sometimes get pushed to the side.

drake3781
Mar 3rd, 2006, 03:29 PM
I'm surprised that NONE of the other players pass the event because of it, or speak out about it. Very surprised.

If it were me, I would HAVE to do both, morally.

AjdeNate!
Mar 3rd, 2006, 03:39 PM
$ Cha-ching.

Apoleb
Mar 3rd, 2006, 03:47 PM
Well, this article is complete BS imo.

First, getting woman's rights in the equation is absolutely ridiculous. When you want to enter political positions in the tour, then probably it's also time to boycott socialist countries, dictatorships or whatever. Second, comparing the probable denial of Israelis to enter the tournament to denying African Americans of entering tennis tournaments is not only an imperfect analogy, it is a TERRIBLE one. Countries have fights with each other all the time, and would certainly deny entry to people from a certain country. That is by no means comparable to racial discrimination. Somebody needs to put that idiot in his place.

Carmen Mairena
Mar 3rd, 2006, 05:12 PM
...socialist countries...

What's a socialist country for you? :tape: Spain for example has a socialist government right now and everything is OK... :confused:

fammmmedspin
Mar 3rd, 2006, 06:03 PM
Saying and doing in the Arab world are very often contradictory actions. When Israel bombs Iran there will be the most outraged reaction from places like the UAE followed by the diplomatic equivalent of high fives with any Israeli they meet and eventual unconfirmed relevations that they assisted with the intelligence and the mission itself.

Renaissance
Mar 3rd, 2006, 06:08 PM
USA didn't extend an invitation to Cuba to play some big baseball tournament... I don't see sportillustrated making a big stink becuase of it.... :p a country full of hypocrits
That's true.

Volcana
Mar 3rd, 2006, 06:24 PM
As far as I know, there is no exact parallel to this. Howver, here are some observations.

a) Many countries regard Israel as a rogue state illegally occupying Palestinian land. I note they don't deny Jews entry, but rather Israeli nationals.

b) Re Shahar Peer, the WTA is a business. She joined voluntarily. I doubt she's happy about the tournament being there, but she's free to leave the tour if she likes. least Especially considering that, at the moment, she's at technically in the Israeli military.

c) If you recall, there was an international ban on South African participation in international sporting events in the latter stages of the apartheid regime.

d) IF, and I stress IF, the WTA has secured the right of any Israeli player to particiapte in the event, they've certainly done their share.

Israel is a nation reserves to itself the right to violate it's neighbor's borders, and kill their citizens. (And yes, I know the whole 'self-defense' song-and-dance, I just don't buy all of it. Some maybe. Not all. Of course, if I was Prime Minister of Israel, my decisions would likely not be any more peaceful than those of Shimon Peres. And he certainly was no pacifist.)

Is it all that surprising that some countries in the region don't allow Israelis in? They might be providing targeting information.

Consider the American reaction to the Dubai port deal? Is it not the same?

'No citizen of Dubai can be trusted.'
'No citizen of Israel can be trusted.'

The pursuit of power can lead to extreme policy decisions.

SJW
Mar 3rd, 2006, 06:28 PM
What's a socialist country for you? :tape: Spain for example has a socialist government right now and everything is OK... :confused:

Spain has it's own disgusting sporting related problems.

Vass22
Mar 3rd, 2006, 07:11 PM
Btw. Doha has the same controversy.

Melly Flew Us
Mar 3rd, 2006, 07:17 PM
What's a socialist country for you? :tape: Spain for example has a socialist government right now and everything is OK... :confused:
yeah. tell that to eto'o and all the others, whether they be footballers or members of the under class.

Melly Flew Us
Mar 3rd, 2006, 07:20 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/jon_wertheim/03/01/mailbag/index.html

(...)

As for the tennis, as I wrote a few years ago, the U.A.E. does not exactly have a sterling record on women's rights. Further, like other Arab nations, the U.A.E. doesn't have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Reader Lance Harke called this (http://dubaitourism.co.ae/Travel/default.asp?SubCatID=43) link to our attention. Note this prominent line: "Nationals of 'Israel' may not enter the U.A.E." If I'm, say, Shahar Peer, the top-40 Israeli player, I'm sure not happy that my tour is sanctioning events in countries in which I am not welcome. It's not a perfect analogy but we'll make this one anyway: Would the WTA or ATP ever even think about sanctioning an event in a country or club that excluded African-Americans? (Then again, if the country in question were offering $1.5 million in prize money, high six-figure guarantees and had a duty free shop that was a chief sponsor of the tour. Well, maybe. )

We asked the ATP and WTA about this issue and both tours reported that before giving their sanction, they had assurances that no player would be denied entry into the Dubai event. I was struck by how closely the logic parallels President Bush's position on the ports. While this country isn't perfect, let's use this as an opportunity to bridge gaps and establish trust.

Here's WTA CEO Larry Scott: "The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and our player and tournament members believe that through sport we can act as a positive influence for social change and equality, particularly in the area of women's rights. We are one of many sporting organizations that has reached this conclusion on the role that sport can play in diverse countries throughout the world."

Like many of you, I have a hard time with Scott's situational ethics. And I also recognize that the U.A.E.'s monopoly money is playing a huge role in the equation. But another part of me is inclined to give him (and the ATP) the benefit of the doubt. Bringing women's tennis to a moderate Arab country may ultimately lead to improving women's rights as well as a better understanding of the West. Who knows? It might even lead to a day when Peer and the 10 other Israeli players ranked by the WTA don't need special permission to enter the country.
to be honest i'm not that bothered since israel also has non-jewish citizens, and people from other arab and north african states find it hard to stay in dubai though they may be able to visit.

Rollo
Mar 3rd, 2006, 07:28 PM
The Cuban team is being allowed to play in the US-link below:


http://www.pww.org/article/articleview/8456/1/306


IMO the key issue is if (or when) an Israeli player wanted to play would they be allowed to?

Until that bridge is crossed there's not an issue-though I think the criticisms are valid too. It reminds me of the WTA events and exhibtions held in South Africa in the 1980s.

Apoleb
Mar 3rd, 2006, 08:24 PM
What's a socialist country for you? :tape: Spain for example has a socialist government right now and everything is OK... :confused:

Well that's not really relevant to my point. I was just giving an example of a political position. My point is that when you will meld political positions with sports, it's going to become sort of messy and silly.

Ofcourse, there are certain limits like the apartheid thing. But when it comes down to women's rights, gay rights..etc, it's too much imo.

ptkten
Mar 3rd, 2006, 08:57 PM
As far as I know, there is no exact parallel to this. Howver, here are some observations.

a) Many countries regard Israel as a rogue state illegally occupying Palestinian land. I note they don't deny Jews entry, but rather Israeli nationals.

b) Re Shahar Peer, the WTA is a business. She joined voluntarily. I doubt she's happy about the tournament being there, but she's free to leave the tour if she likes. least Especially considering that, at the moment, she's at technically in the Israeli military.

c) If you recall, there was an international ban on South African participation in international sporting events in the latter stages of the apartheid regime.

d) IF, and I stress IF, the WTA has secured the right of any Israeli player to particiapte in the event, they've certainly done their share.

Israel is a nation reserves to itself the right to violate it's neighbor's borders, and kill their citizens. (And yes, I know the whole 'self-defense' song-and-dance, I just don't buy all of it. Some maybe. Not all. Of course, if I was Prime Minister of Israel, my decisions would likely not be any more peaceful than those of Shimon Peres. And he certainly was no pacifist.)

Is it all that surprising that some countries in the region don't allow Israelis in? They might be providing targeting information.

Consider the American reaction to the Dubai port deal? Is it not the same?

'No citizen of Dubai can be trusted.'
'No citizen of Israel can be trusted.'

The pursuit of power can lead to extreme policy decisions.


Your posts on Israel and Palestine become more and more one-sided every time.

And if people think this is some kind of moral stance UAE is taking against occupying countries, let me remind everyone this is one of three countries in the world that recognized the Taliban, and yet they can't recognize Israel.

Xanadu11
Mar 3rd, 2006, 09:36 PM
I'm surprised that NONE of the other players pass the event because of it, or speak out about it. Very surprised.

If it were me, I would HAVE to do both, morally.

It's those lovely appearance pay checks. For that they will even get dressed up in Arab clothes and the lot. Morals are so expedient.

oren987
Mar 3rd, 2006, 09:54 PM
As far as I know, there is no exact parallel to this. Howver, here are some observations.

a) Many countries regard Israel as a rogue state illegally occupying Palestinian land. I note they don't deny Jews entry, but rather Israeli nationals.

b) Re Shahar Peer, the WTA is a business. She joined voluntarily. I doubt she's happy about the tournament being there, but she's free to leave the tour if she likes. least Especially considering that, at the moment, she's at technically in the Israeli military.

c) If you recall, there was an international ban on South African participation in international sporting events in the latter stages of the apartheid regime.

d) IF, and I stress IF, the WTA has secured the right of any Israeli player to particiapte in the event, they've certainly done their share.

Israel is a nation reserves to itself the right to violate it's neighbor's borders, and kill their citizens. (And yes, I know the whole 'self-defense' song-and-dance, I just don't buy all of it. Some maybe. Not all. Of course, if I was Prime Minister of Israel, my decisions would likely not be any more peaceful than those of Shimon Peres. And he certainly was no pacifist.)

Is it all that surprising that some countries in the region don't allow Israelis in? They might be providing targeting information.

Consider the American reaction to the Dubai port deal? Is it not the same?

'No citizen of Dubai can be trusted.'
'No citizen of Israel can be trusted.'

The pursuit of power can lead to extreme policy decisions.

You realy don't know what you are talking abote.

*JR*
Mar 3rd, 2006, 10:09 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/inside_game/jon_wertheim/news/2003/02/24/mailbag

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 official 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.

Mitzi
Mar 3rd, 2006, 11:31 PM
As far as I know, there is no exact parallel to this. Howver, here are some observations.

a) Many countries regard Israel as a rogue state illegally occupying Palestinian land. I note they don't deny Jews entry, but rather Israeli nationals.

b) Re Shahar Peer, the WTA is a business. She joined voluntarily. I doubt she's happy about the tournament being there, but she's free to leave the tour if she likes. least Especially considering that, at the moment, she's at technically in the Israeli military.

c) If you recall, there was an international ban on South African participation in international sporting events in the latter stages of the apartheid regime.

d) IF, and I stress IF, the WTA has secured the right of any Israeli player to particiapte in the event, they've certainly done their share.

Israel is a nation reserves to itself the right to violate it's neighbor's borders, and kill their citizens. (And yes, I know the whole 'self-defense' song-and-dance, I just don't buy all of it. Some maybe. Not all. Of course, if I was Prime Minister of Israel, my decisions would likely not be any more peaceful than those of Shimon Peres. And he certainly was no pacifist.)

Is it all that surprising that some countries in the region don't allow Israelis in? They might be providing targeting information.

Consider the American reaction to the Dubai port deal? Is it not the same?

'No citizen of Dubai can be trusted.'
'No citizen of Israel can be trusted.'

The pursuit of power can lead to extreme policy decisions.

You have absolutly no idea what you're talking about. Try doing some research first. :rolleyes:

faste5683
Mar 4th, 2006, 12:35 AM
You have absolutly no idea what you're talking about. Try doing some research first. :rolleyes:

Yup. It's uncanny how many hold this view without at least some knowledge of the creation and history of Israel.

:wavey:

~ The Leopard ~
Mar 4th, 2006, 01:55 AM
Noga! :hearts:

Volcana
Mar 4th, 2006, 05:00 AM
Your posts on Israel and Palestine become more and more one-sided every time.I'm impressed.And if people think this is some kind of moral stance UAE is taking against occupying countriesThen they're fools. The decision is entirely political. But no more or less sincere because of that.
You realy don't know what you are talking abote.
You have absolutly no idea what you're talking about. Try doing some research first. I actually do know what I'm talking about. The result of quite a lot of research. However, I'm quite willing to engage in debate with intelligent and educated persons. So tell me, which of my statements in my previous posts are actually inaccurate?

Of course, if your intent was to simply prove you're stupid enough to rant without actually responding to what's written, consider your mission accomplished.

~ The Leopard ~
Mar 4th, 2006, 05:30 AM
Now if only Noga would post here more often. :(

Mitzi
Mar 4th, 2006, 03:03 PM
I actually do know what I'm talking about. The result of quite a lot of research. However, I'm quite willing to engage in debate with intelligent and educated persons. So tell me, which of my statements in my previous posts are actually inaccurate?

Of course, if your intent was to simply prove you're stupid enough to rant without actually responding to what's written, consider your mission accomplished.

I'm not even going to start stating where you were wrong in your post. But just to get you started, try googling "Shimon Peres" and see when was the last time that he was Israel's Prime Minister. :o Again, try doing some research first.


BTW, Instead of writing such a long post, you could have just written: Palestine good, Israel bad :rolleyes: Political debates belong in NT, not here. And I do not want to debate any subject with a person that calls me stupid. Have a nice day.

Volcana
Mar 4th, 2006, 10:24 PM
I'm not even going to start stating where you were wrong in your post. But just to get you started, try googling "Shimon Peres" and see when was the last time that he was Israel's Prime Minister. :o Again, try doing some research first.Why is this relevant? I didn't say HE was Prime Minister. I used him as a point of comparison for what I would do if I were Prime Minister.
BTW, Instead of writing such a long post, you could have just written: Palestine good, Israel badNo I couldn't, since that would not be an accurate representation of my beliefs.I do not want to debate any subject with a person that calls me stupid.You mean you actually intended to rant without actually responding to what's written!?!? How unfortunate, for you, that that is an turns out to be an accurate description of you.

However, the next time the topic comes up in NT, feel free to chime in.

polishprodigy
Mar 4th, 2006, 11:03 PM
So did Shahar play the tournament or she was not allowed? If she wasn't allowed, the WTA should do something.

spiceboy
Feb 21st, 2007, 08:21 PM
Bump

This question keeps appearing every year around this time :angel:

shirgan
Feb 23rd, 2007, 07:50 PM
http://www.lawntennismag.com/memphis2007/shahar-peer1.html

After her quarterfinal match, Peer also addressed the Dubai question before the WTA stepped in. "I can't play Dubai. It's not even a question," Peer said when asked why she, a red hot top player is playing a Memphis Tier III this week, rather than the larger tournament in Dubai, pulling in 6-0 sets with ease.

An incorrect rumor hit the internet earlier this week that Peer had demanded bodyguards in order to compete in Dubai and had been refused. Thursday following her quarterfinal win, we were reminded that Peer could not play Dubai due to her Israeli passport. Futhermore a comment was made that questions to Peer should be "tennis related" and that an announcement may be made prior to Peer's next interview to this affect.

skanky~skanketta
Feb 23rd, 2007, 07:53 PM
oohhh!now they can say top 20 player!

sorry, got sidetracked there.