Steve Simon: "Never banned athletes for positions of their leaders"

CEO of the WTA Steve Simon, believe that it is not right to punish athletes for the political choices made by the leaders of their countries

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Steve Simon: "Never banned athletes for positions of their leaders"

The conflict started by Russia in Ukraine, from the first day it began, is producing the most disparate consequences on the nation headed by Vladimir Putin. In the field of sports, a "clean sweep" of scheduled events in the Soviet country has been made, and even the athletes themselves are suffering the repercussions of this absurd act of violence.

In the first instance, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has decided to suspend Russia and Belarus from team competitions, to which provision was added that of involving the tennis players of their respective nations under neutral flag (ATP and WTA have also removed the flags indicating the two nationalities placed alongside the corresponding players).

As for singles players, for the moment there is no inhibition from official tournaments, even if rumors are circulating that fear this hypothesis. The WTA came out on the issue and, in the person of its CEO, Steve Simon, said it was opposed to the inhibition of Russian and Belarusian athletes due to political choices made exclusively by the leaders of their own countries.

Simon: "Never banned athletes for positions of their leaders"

A debate has arisen on the web and on social networks regarding the participation of Russian and Belarusian tennis players in official tournaments. There are those who say they are intransigent and those who, like the CEO of the WTA Steve Simon, believe that it is not right to punish athletes for the political choices made by the leaders of their countries.

In an interview for BBC Sport be said: "You never know what the future will bring. But I can tell you that we have never banned athletes from touring because of the political positions their leaders may take. So it would take something very, very significant for this to change.

I hope we continue to apply sanctions and do everything possible to achieve peace. But I feel very, very strongly that these athletes shouldn't be the ones who are penalized by the decisions of an authoritarian power that is obviously doing terrible and reprehensible things."

Steve Simon
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