Peng Shuai case: WTA suspends tournaments in China

WTA President Steve Simon announced on Wednesday 1er December “The suspension of tournaments in China” because of the Peng Shuai case, according to a statement from the body that manages the women’s tennis circuit.

“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 participate in tournaments when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has apparently been pressured to reverse his allegations. sexual abuse ”, wrote Steve Simon in a press release.

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“In view of the current situation of the case, I am also very worried about the risks that all our players and our staff would take if we organize tournaments in China in 2022”, he adds.

No WTA tournament was scheduled until the end of the year and the 2022 schedule has yet to be released.

“So that justice be done to Peng”

During the 2019 season, the last not to have been impacted by the Covid-19, 10 tournaments were organized in China, including the end-of-year women’s Masters which, with $ 14 million, had been better endowed financially. than their male counterpart.

“The WTA will do everything possible to protect its players. Along with us, I hope that the leaders of the world will continue to stand up for justice for Peng, and all women, regardless of the financial consequences. “

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Peng Shuai, 35, disappeared days in November after accusing a former top Chinese Communist leader of sexual abuse.

Many stars of world tennis, from Chris Evert to Novak Djokovic and several Western countries, notably France and the United States but also the European Union and the United Nations, have asked Beijing to shed light on Peng’s fate. Shuai.

Responses “influenced by others”

The young woman reappeared on November 21 in a restaurant in Beijing and during a tennis tournament held in the Chinese capital, according to videos published by official media.

She also spoke by videoconference with the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach.

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According to the IOC, Peng Shuai explained that she was “Safe and sound at her home in Beijing but that she would like her privacy to be respected”. Chinese Olympic Committee member Li Lingwei participated in the video conference with Thomas Bach.

The WTA told AFP last Saturday that Steve Simon had sent the player two emails but that he “Was clear that his answers were influenced by others”, adding that he remained “Deeply worried” as to his situation.

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