Government accuses tennis authorities of being ‘outcasts’ after $1m LTA fine over Russia stance

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he Government has accused tennis authorities of being “outcasts” in the fight against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The comments from Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan come after the ATP announced a $1million (£820,000) fine against the Lawn Tennis Association over its refusal to let Russian and Belarusian players compete in its summer events.

The LTA, which described itself as “deeply disappointed” by the ATP’s actions, has been warned it could also lose its ATP membership.

Following the financial sanctions, the Culture Secretary said in a statement: “Over the past year, the vast majority of the international sporting community have stood shoulder to shoulder in condemning Putin’s provoked and barbaric actions in Ukraine.

“The UK has taken a world-leading role to build this international response. We are clear that sport cannot be used to legitimise this deadly invasion, and that athletes representing the Russian and Belarusian states should be banned from competing in other countries.

“Despite widespread condemnation, the international tennis tours are determined to be outcasts in this, with investment in the growth of our domestic game hampered as a result.

“This is the wrong move by the ATP and the WTA. I urge them to think carefully about the message this sends and to reconsider.”

The LTA has been fined $200,000 for each of the five ATP events it hosts on British soil in the lead-up to Wimbledon. The LTA had previously been hit with a fine by the WTA.

Both Wimbledon and the LTA had made the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in response to the ongoing Russian invasion under Government advice.

The ATP has said it will donate the fine to humanitarian relief in Ukraine.

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