Dubai May Lose WTA Standing Later For Denying Israeli Player Visa

Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer has been denied a visa that would allow her to compete in the Sony Ericsson World Tennis Association Tour in Dubai by the United Arab Emirates.
Peer would have been the first Israeli to participate in any professional sporting event located in the UAE.

While the governing body of women’s tennis is disappointed that the visa was denied they are not canceling the competition. This is against WTA policy that states no player should be barred from a country if she qualifies for a competition. It is possible that Dubai could lose its membership in the WTA tour later this year because of the ban on Shahar. This would mean that professional players would only be allowed to compete in exhibition matches in the nation. Results from exhibition matches do not count in the pro rankings of a player.

When Peer was told that she would not be granted a visa on Saturday she was understandably upset.

CNN reports:

“Ms. Peer and her family are obviously extremely upset and disappointed by the decision of the UAE and its impact on her personally and professionally,” Scott said.

“The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour believes very strongly, and has a clear rule and policy, that no host country should deny a player the right to compete at a tournament for which she has qualified by ranking.”

The Dubai Tennis Championships started in 1993. This year’s competition runs from February 15 to February 28.

This is certainly not the first time politics has infringed on the sporting world. While it does not seem fair to ban a player because of their nationality it has happened in the past. The United States boycotted the Olympics when it was held in Moscow.

Israel does not have a WTA tournament so it’s unclear if a member of the UAE would be banned a visa if the situation was reversed.

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