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Josh Dec 14th, 2002 10:37 PM

AGE ELIGIBILITY
 
E. AGE ELIGIBILITY (PART OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT)

PART A:

Professional Development and the Age Eligibility Rule are applicable to competition in professional tennis Tournaments worldwide (including all WTA Tour Tournaments and ITF Women’s Circuit events that receive WTA Ranking Points).

Competition in a professional tennis Tournament is defined as participation in the singles or doubles Main Draw, or the singles or doubles Qualifying Draw of a WTA Tour or ITF Women’s Circuit Tournament. Each Tournament in which a player earns WTA ranking points (singles and doubles) counts towards a player’s allotment of Tournaments under the Age Eligibility Rule. However, participation in the Draws of ITF Women’s Circuit Tournaments in which a player does not earn WTA Ranking Points does not constitute competition in a professional tennis Tournament under
this rule.

For the purposes of this rule, a player’s age is determined by her age as of the date of start of a Tournament’s Main Draw.

A player 18-years-old and older is no longer subject to Part A of the Age Eligibility Rule but is required to continue participating in Professional Development (Part B) until she receives notification of graduation from Professional Development from a Tour representative.

1. WTA Tour, ITF Women’s Circuit and Exhibition/Non-Tour Event Participation

a. A player who has not yet reached the date of her fourteenth (14th) birthday may not participate in any professional tennis Tournament on the WTA Tour or ITF Women’s Circuit.

b. (i) Between the date of a player’s fourteenth (14th) birthday and the day before her fifteenth (15th) birthday a player may participate in a maximum of seven (7) ITF Women’s Circuit Tournaments, only four (4) of which may be for prize money of greater than $10,000, plus regional Fed Cup Qualifying, and one (1) exhibition/non-Tour event. The number of ITF Women’s Circuit Tournaments a player may participate in will be reduced if the player receives a Wild Card into or accepts a Feed-Up position into a WTA Tour Tier I-V Tournament as provided in Sections 1(b) ii) and 3.

(ii) These players are permitted to receive a maximum of three (3) Wild Cards as follows: one (1) Wild Card into the Main Draw or Qualifying Draw of any WTA Tour Tier I-V or ITF Women’s Circuit Tournament, and two (2) Wild Cards into the Main Draw or Qualifying Draw of any ITF Women’s Circuit Tournaments.

(iii) These players may earn a WTA Tour ranking; however, these players may not participate in WTA Tour Tournaments, including the Championships, by direct ranking acceptance. These players may not participate in professional Grand Slam events.

c. (i) Between the date of a player’s fifteenth (15th) birthday and the day before her sixteenth (16th) birthday a player may participate in a maximum of eight (8) professional Tournaments plus the Championships (if she qualifies), Fed Cup, and three (3) exhibition/non-Tour events.

(ii) These players are permitted to receive a total of three (3) Wild Cards as follows: two (2) Wild Cards into the Main Draw or Qualifying Draws of any WTA Tour Tier I-V Tournament or ITF Women’s Circuit event, and one (1) Wild Card into the Main Draw or Qualifying Draw of any WTA Tour Tier III-V or ITF Women’s Circuit Tournaments.

d. (i) Between the date of a player’s sixteenth (16th) birthday and the day before her seventeenth (17th) birthday a player may participate in a maximum of ten (10) professional Tournaments plus the Championships (if she qualifies), Fed Cup, and three (3) exhibition/non-Tour events.

(ii) These players may receive a maximum of three (3) Wild Cards into WTA Tour and/or ITF Women’s Circuit Tournaments.

e. (i) Between the date of a player’s seventeenth (17th) birthday and the day before her eighteenth (18th) birthday a player may participate in a maximum of thirteen (13) professional Tournaments plus the Championships (if she qualifies), Fed Cup, and four (4) exhibition/non-Tour events.

(ii) These players are permitted to receive a maximum of six (6) Wild Cards into any WTA Tour or ITF Women’s Circuit Tournament, up to three (3) into Main Draws and the remaining into Qualifying Draws.

f. (i) Players eighteen (18) years of age or older may participate in an unlimited number of professional Tournaments on the WTA Tour and/or ITF Women’s Circuit.

(ii) Once a player reaches the age of eighteen (18), the number of Wild Cards she is allowed to receive pursuant to the WTA Tour’s Wild Card rule as outlined in the WTA Tour Rules is calculated over the course of the Tour Year in which she turned eighteen (18) [i.e., any Wild Cards used under the Age Eligibility Rule by the player in that Tour Year prior to turning eighteen (18) will count toward the total number of Wild Cards permitted under the Tour Rules].

g. (i) Because Gold and Silver Exempt players must commit to a minimum number of Tournaments, a player may not be classified as Exempt until the Tour year during which she will reach her seventeenth (17th) birthday. In order to be named Gold Exempt, a player under the age of eighteen (18) years old must be ranked in the Top 50 of singles at the time of selection. Prior to the beginning of the Tour year during which she will be classified as
Exempt and prior to determining her Player Commitment schedule, a player is required to meet with representatives of the Tour Operations and Professional Development departments for the purpose of developing the player's schedule for that first year of her Exempt status. Once the player has met with representatives from both staffs, completed her Professional Development requirements, participated fully in Professional Development, and acknowledged in writing that she has a full understanding of the Exempt player and Professional Development programs, then she will be permitted to benefit from her Exempt Status. If any of the above requirements are not completed by the player, then she will not be permitted to benefit fully from her Exempt Status.

(ii) During the calendar year of her 17th birthday, an Exempt player will be allowed to participate in up to one (1) additional Tournament only if her participation in that Tournament is necessary for her to meet her Player Commitment requirements.

(iii) A Gold Exempt player under the Age Eligibility Rule (AER) will be allowed up to eight (8) Wild Cards, no more than five (5) into the Main Draw and the remaining into Qualifying. A Silver Exempt player under the AER rule will be allowed up to seven (7) Wild Cards, a maximum of four (4) in the Main Draw and the remaining in Qualifying.

(iv) During the calendar year of her 17th birthday, an Exempt player may not be hard designated to any Tournament.

h. If a player has completed the Professional Development requirements and is accepted into a Grand Slam based on her ranking, then her participation in that Grand Slam is in addition to her allotted number of Tournaments under the Age Eligibility Rule. However, if a player gains acceptance to a Grand Slam via a Wild Card, both the Tournament and Wild Card are counted toward her total allotment. If a player earns entry into a Grand Slam and has not completed her Professional Development requirements then participation in the Tournament is counted toward her total allotment of Tournaments.

2. Wild Cards

a. Wild Cards received at separate Tournaments count toward a player's total allotment, regardless of whether the Wild Card is singles or doubles. However, if a player receives both a singles and doubles Wild Card at the same Tournament, it will count as only one Wild Card. The singles Wild Card will be used to determine how it is counted (Main Draw or Qualifying).

b. In the event a player is accepted into the singles draw (Main or Qualifying) by direct acceptance and receives a Wild Card into the doubles draw, that doubles Wild Card will not count towards her allotment permitted under the Age Eligibility Rule. If player does not earn points in the singles draw then such a doubles Wild Card will count towards her Age Eligibility Rule allotment.

c. In the event a player wins a pre-qualifying event/circuit that awards a Wild Card into a Tier I - V Tournament, the player will be permitted to accept the Wild Card if:

(i) The pre-qualifying event/circuit has been accredited by the Tour (please contact the Tour’s Business Affairs or Professional Development departments for full details and guidelines regarding accredited events); and

(ii) Acceptance of the Wild Card does not result in the player exceeding her allotment of Wild Cards permitted under the Age Eligibility Rule.

Under no circumstances will a player be allowed to exceed the Tour maximum number of Wild Cards for singles or doubles.

d. In order to qualify for any Wild Card into any WTA Tour Tournament, a player must have enrolled in Professional Development and be current with all of her Professional Development requirements. If it is not feasible to enroll in advance of the Tournament, the player must enroll during or immediately afterward.

3. Feed-Up/ITF Women’s Circuit Events

If a player between the ages of fourteen and seventeen (14 - 17) wins an ITF Women’s Circuit event that has been designated a Feed-Up into a WTA Tour Tournament, the player will be allowed to accept the Feed-Up position into the WTA Tour Tournament. This will be counted in her allotted number of Tournaments under the Age Eligibility Rule. Under no circumstances will a player be allowed to exceed the Tour maximum number of Tournaments permitted under the Age Eligibility Rule.

4. Fed Cup Participation

a. Players under the age of fourteen (14) years may not participate in any level of Fed Cup competition.

b. Players between the ages of fourteen (14) and fifteen (15) years may participate in the Regional Qualifying only of Fed Cup competition.

c. Players fifteen (15) years of age and older may participate in all levels of Fed Cup competition.

d. Participation in Fed Cup competition by players between the ages of fourteen (14) and seventeen (17) will not require players to reduce the number of professional Tournaments and/or exhibition/non-Tour events in which they are permitted to participate.

5. Olympic Participation

The Age Eligibility restrictions with respect to the Women’s Tennis Competition for the Summer Games of 2004 (Athens, Greece) will be published in the 2004 edition of the WTA Tour Rules, prior to such Games. The ITF may be contacted directly for information regarding 2004 Olympic Summer Games eligibility criteria.

6. Exhibition/Non-Tour Events

a. For purposes of the Age Eligibility Rule, an exhibition/non- Tour event is defined as any tennis competition between two (2) or more players who compete in professional Tournaments whether or not the players receive financial remuneration for their participation in the event, which is not recognized on the WTA Tour or ITF Women’s Circuit Calendars. These events include single-day, multiple-day, week-long and seasonal team-oriented competitions and charity events, but exclude national interclub and national championships in which only nationals from that country compete.

b. Participation in any single-day, multiple-day, week-long or seasonal team-oriented exhibition/non-Tour events shall count as one (1) of the exhibition/non-Tour events a player between the age of fourteen (14) and seventeen (17) is permitted to play. This rule may be modified if the format of any seasonal team-oriented exhibition/non-Tour event is changed in any material respect.

c. Players under the age of fifteen (15) are permitted to participate in seasonal team-oriented exhibition/non-Tour events with WTA Tour approval only. In such case, participation counts as the player’s one (1) permitted exhibition/non-Tour event.

7. Evening Play Limitation
In addition to these requirements, best efforts must be made not to schedule any player under the age of sixteen (16) years for a match after 9:00 p.m.

8. Media Requirements and Limitations

Players under the age of eighteen (18) years are not permitted to engage in an excess of four (4) total hours of media requests and engagements per Tournament. This time is to include one-on-one media requests, WTA Tour requests and Tournament functions. Player's personal endorsement commitments are at the discretion of the player but must not conflict with her match schedule, professional appearance obligations of the aforementioned and/or physiological limitations.


PART B: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT REQUIREMENTS

1. Phase 1 begins within the year in which:

. A player eighteen (18) years of age or younger has competed in at least one (1) WTA Tour Tournament (Main Draw singles or doubles, or Qualifying Draw singles or doubles); or

. A player eighteen (18) years of age or younger has competed in five (5) $25,000 or greater prize money ITF Women’s Circuit Tournaments (Main Draw or Qualifying, singles or doubles); or

. A player fourteen (14) years old has competed in four (4) or more ITF Women’s Circuit Events.

Phase 1 participants must complete the following:

a. Provide proof of age - a copy of player’s passport or birth certificate.

b. Player Registration form - player provides contact information for herself and parents, and signs a statement agreeing to abide by the WTA Tour Rules.

c. Medical Release form for players under the age of eighteen (18) signed by the player's parent or legal guardian authorizing medical treatment on-site at Tournaments in the event such treatment is deemed appropriate.

2. Phase 2 begins when a player eighteen (18) years of age or younger participates in two (2) or more WTA Tour Main Draw singles events in a 52 week period. Phase 2 participants must complete the following:

a. WTA Tour professional orientation, which includes:

(i) Completing the player handbook (‘The Inside Scoop’) and passing a written examination covering the material in the handbook.

(ii) Fulfilling “Rookie Hours”.

b. At least one (1) parent or guardian/chaperon of each player under the age of eighteen (18) who has qualified to meet all the requirements of participation on the WTA Tour is required to complete the parent handbook and pass a written examination covering the material in the handbook.

c. Each player under the age of eighteen (18) must have met (or continue to meet) the minimum educational requirements of her country of legal residence. Upon request, players must submit to the WTA Tour a certificate verifying that they have met or are continuing to meet the minimum educational requirements of their countries of residence.

d. Each player under the age of eighteen (18) years must undergo an annual medical examination as specified by the WTA Tour. This medical examination must be submitted to the WTA Tour for continued approval to participate in professional Tournament tennis. This information will be kept confidential and on file with the WTA Tour Sport Sciences and Medicine Department.

e. Upon request, coaches and agents of players under the age of eighteen (18) must register with the WTA Tour by:

(i) Providing information about their qualifications.

(ii) Agreeing in writing to abide by the WTA Tour Rules.

f. Coaches must also:

(i) Agree, in writing, to abide by the WTA Tour Coaches Code of Ethics.

(ii) Upon request, sign-in at the WTA Tour office on-site prior to the beginning of the Tournament.

It is the player’s responsibility to advise the WTA Tour if there is a change in a coach or agent.

g. Players must participate in educational programs offered on-site at Tournaments.

3. Phase 3 begins when a player eighteen (18) years of age or younger moves into the Top 100 of singles on the WTA Tour ranking. Phase 3 participants are required to complete the following:

Players:

a. Participate in the Mentor Program- “Partners for Success”.

b. Continuation of annual Athlete Physical Exam.

c. Continuation of providing proof that minimum educational requirements of country of residence are being met (or have been completed).

d. Participate in educational programs offered on-site at Tournaments.

e. Participate in the Career Development Program.

f. Attend a minimum of one session of advanced Media Training, to be conducted at designated Tournament sites throughout the calendar year.

g. Review annual Tournament schedule with a Professional Development representative and a Tour Operations Representative.

Coaches:

a. Continue to sign Coaches Code of Ethics.

b. Continue to Sign-in at WTA Tour Tournaments.

c. Participate in Coaches Registration program, including

(i) Attend one on-site WTA Tour Coaches Seminar per year

(ii) Pass the WTA Tour Rules test

(iii) Provide proof of and maintain coaching certification from a National Federation or other organized body

Parents:
Parents to participate in a one-on-one conference on-site with a Professional Development representative until notification of graduation.

NOTE: Players must continue to participate and fulfill the requirements of Professional Development until notification of graduation.


PART C: PLAYER PENALTIES

In the event a player plays in a Tournament that exceeds the number and/or level permitted to be played under this rule, or enters a Tournament that in any way conflicts with this rule, that Tournament will not be counted for Ranking Points for that player. Additionally, players who do not comply with any of the provisions of this Age Eligibility Rule or the requirements of Professional Development are subject to a fine of up to $25,000 and to being barred from competing in WTA Tour and ITF Women’s Circuit Tournaments and Fed Cup for up to six months.

For any questions relating to Professional Development, including the Age Eligibility Rule, please contact the Professional Development or Business Affairs departments in the Florida office.

(Thanks to Steveg ;))


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