In the case of Peng Shuai, women’s tennis is showing its stand, but the International Olympic Committee is not.
It’s been just over a year since Steve Simon seemed to step into his executive chair. In the sunny state of the USA, in Florida, and more precisely in St. Petersburg on the Gulf of Mexico, the number one man in women’s tennis in the world seems to have had his time. He said nothing, did nothing – and received sharp criticism. One must now, please, develop ideas for racket shows In the midst of the pandemic, one must lead by example in the more active and new forms of men’s tennis, anyway: Do something, Steve!
At the time, there were calls to resign from Simon, the head of the WTA, behind closed doors. After about twelve months, there is nothing left of it. Steve Simon has risen from his chair, not in terms of the new formats, but on another, more important matter: the case of Peng Shuai.
The WTA announced, on Wednesday evening, the suspension of all tournaments in China. Simon told The Associated Press that this decision may continue to apply after 2022. Peng Shuai, a former world doubles player, announced sexual assault allegations against prominent Chinese politician Zhang Gaoli in early November. Then it disappeared and did not appear again until two weeks later. Observers are concerned about the well-being of the 35-year-old. The WTA suspects that he is under pressure and cannot move freely.
Boycott the Winter Games?
“If influencers suppress women’s voices and remove allegations of sexual abuse under the rug, the foundation on which the WTA was founded – equality for women – will suffer a major setback,” Simone said in a statement. He will not and will not allow “this to happen to the WTA”.
The Chinese government denies these allegations. China plays an important role in the women’s tennis calendar, with up to a dozen competitions taking place each season – including the end of the season. According to reports, the WTA generates every third of a dollar of its income in the Middle Kingdom.
No other sports organization has yet publicly taken up the hosting of the 2022 Winter Games, which is now significantly increasing pressure on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) around President Thomas Bach. Because for Beijing, there’s a lot more at stake than just canceling a few tennis tournaments. Above all, the Peng Shuai case may cause the boycott debate to boil over the Beijing Winter Games again in February.
The IOC said Thursday that it shares “the concern of many people and organizations for the well-being and safety” of Peng Shuai. So, there was a second video link with her on Wednesday. They were said to be practicing “quiet diplomacy”. Steve Simon chose the far higher path. with dpa
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