Wimbledon lifts ban on Russian and Belarusian players

LONDON: Russian and Belarusian tennis players will be allowed to compete at Wimbledon this year after organisers announced on Friday they were lifting a ban imposed in 2022 in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Competitors from the two countries will be able to enter the Grand Slam in July if they compete as “neutral” athletes and comply with certain conditions.

Players will be prohibited from expressing support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and those who receive funding from the Russian or Belarusian states, including sponsorship from state-operated or state-controlled companies, will remain barred.

The All England Club, which runs Wimbledon, said the conditions had been “carefully developed” after talks with the UK government, Britain’s governing Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and international tennis bodies.

The same conditions will apply for other British tournaments.

Wimbledon last year banned players from Russia and Moscow-allied Belarus after the invasion of Ukraine and the LTA also barred players from other events.

Elsewhere, players have been able to compete on their tours as neutrals, including at the other Grand Slams.

The LTA and Wimbledon were heavily penalised after imposing the tough sanctions last year, with Wimbledon stripped of ranking points while both bodies were fined.

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