Richard Lewis, the outgoing CEO of the All England Club, has said that it is unlikely that the 2021 Championships will be covered by insurance against a pandemic, after the All England Club used its insurance policy against a pandemic this year.
Richard Lewis and Sally Bolton on the 2021 Wimbledon Championships
Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II this year due to the global pandemic but the club was insured against a pandemic this time.
However, Lewis says they would not be in the same position next year. According to The Metro, Lewis says, "No that’s impossible [to get pandemic insurance] in the current climate. In the immediate aftermath you can’t get insurance but fairly soon after that, you can start to get insurance again, the market returns.
So there won’t be insurance next year, but I think in the medium term, just because we’ve made one claim it won’t affect us in the long term." Lewis adds that the event was cancelled because it would not have been possible to hold the event in the current scenario and that he is confident the club would take the right decision next year as well based on the situation at that time.
"I think I emphasised it when we cancelled: we cancelled because we had to cancel. There was absolutely no ifs nor buts. The fact we had insurance was incidental in the sense it’s then triggered once you make the decision to cancel.
I think there will be a lot learnt between now and next year from a scientific point of view, behavioural point of view, organisational point of view that will be very different from this year. I think next year the lack of insurance, again, Wimbledon will do what’s right for The Championships long term, not take a short-term decision."
Speaking about the 2021 Championships, the incoming CEO Sally Bolton, who takes over from Lewis in August, says, "It’s too early to say at this point what it will look like and how we will respond to the situation and restrictions in place at the time.
As was the case in the decision to cancel this year’s Championship, the health and safety of our spectators, players, guests and staff will be absolutely at the forefront of any decisions we make." Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and is regarded by many as the most prestigious.
It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London, since 1877 and is one of the four Grand Slam events on the tennis calendar and the only one being played on grass currently.