President explains why ITF won't suspend tournaments in China amid Peng Shuai case

by   |  VIEW 4764

President explains why ITF won't suspend tournaments in China amid Peng Shuai case

ITF president David Haggerty claims the ITF absolutely supports the women's rights but added the ITF won't be suspending their tournaments in China. On Wednesday, the WTA made a major stand against China when they announced they were suspending all tournaments in China for next year.

Peng Shuai went missing a month ago after accusing a former vice premier of sexual assault. "As the governing body of tennis, we stand in support of all women's rights," said Haggerty.

The ITF doesn't want to 'punish' people

"The allegations need to be looked into, and we will continue to work behind the scenes and directly to bring this to resolution," Haggerty told BBC Sport.

"But you have to remember that the ITF is the governing body of the sport worldwide, and one of the things that we are responsible for is grassroots development. "We don't want to punish a billion people, so we will continue to run our junior events in the country and our senior events that are there for the time being."

The WTA tried multiple times to get into a direct communication with Peng but their every was unsucessful. After failing to get a verifiable proof that Peng was safe and well, the WTA decided to pull out of all tournaments scheduled to take place in China next year.

"As a result, and with the full support of the WTA Board of Directors, I am announcing the immediate suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong. In good conscience, I don’t see how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has seemingly been pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault.

Given the current state of affairs, I am also greatly concerned about the risks that all of our players and staff could face if we were to hold events in China in 2022," WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement.