WTA announces immediate suspension of tournaments in China over Peng Shuai concern – BBC News

the chinese foreign ministry says it opposes the politicization of sport after the women's tennis association said it will immediately suspend all tournaments in china the head of the wta has told the bbc the decision was taken because chinese authorities have failed to address sexual assault allegations made by the double star pong shui against a former vice premier courtney bembridge has the latest it's been a month since pang shwai posted on social media accusing a top chinese official of sexual assault the post was quickly taken down and she disappeared from public view chinese state media has released a series of videos of her but there are concerns she was filmed under duress the women's tennis association says it's still yet to speak to her and until there's a transparent investigation into the sexual assault claims it's pulling the plug on lucrative tournaments in china we're not going to walk away from this and we're not going to allow this to be swept away without the appropriate respect and seriousness of the allegations that have been reflected are appropriately addressed china is a key market for women's tennis and the decision could cost the wta hundreds of millions of dollars in broadcasting and sponsorship but the wta says it can't in good conscience ask athletes to compete there this is about something that's bigger than the business and bigger than the financials world number one novak djokovic says the position of the wta is very bold and very courageous adding that pengshui's well-being is of the utmost importance to the world of tennis american former world number one billie jean king tweeted i applaud the wta leadership for taking a strong stand on defending human rights in china and around the world the wta is on the right side of history in supporting our players the international olympic committee had a video call with pung shui last month and said she was safe and well but with the beijing winter olympics and paralympics around the corner the ioc has been accused of putting its interests over the safety of athletes china is yet to respond to the wta decision but it's clear the questions about pung shui aren't going away courtney bembridge bbc news well at a news conference in the last hour china's foreign ministry spokesman wang wenbin kept his response brief when asked about the wta's move we've already elaborated our position we are always firmly opposed to acts that politicize sports prajwal hegde tennis editor of the times of india told me what she makes of the wta's decision i think it's it's a landmark decision and it what has been especially heartening about the decision is that the steve simon and the leader and the wta leadership did not put a price on what is right as as you all have pointed out millions and millions of dollars will be lost in this for the stand and they did not do it for their number one player a superstar player they did it for just a player i think it is just humongous it is historical actually how surprised were you to hear those words from steve simon of the wta that pong's case is bigger than business oh it was it was heartening it it was uh i was surprised i was shocked that you know that that a sport would actually take a stand as big as this but really this is what sport is about right the best of sport is played moving forward and i think steve simon and the wda leadership has shown us that well it is what sport's about in many ways uh taking a moral stand as many times has happened through history but but sport is also very much about the money and the finance how risky a decision has this been and what is at stake you said millions of dollars uh it is there's a lot at stake uh not not just you know the uh they will not be holding 11 tournaments in in the new year that's you know those are just the numbers you're hearing at the very top of it but china hosts a lot of lower grade tournaments which i'm sure will be hit because of this decision and those those those tournaments the the ita futures and those tournaments hit players ranked between say a thousand and say 300 and that's a huge price for them to pay and um but i'm hoping you know when you do what is right sometimes life takes care of you and i hope that the tennis world the business world everyone stands up and supports the wta for what they have done because it is courageous there is a lot at stake but then when you do not put a price on what is right there is you know you're just you're winning it's already you've played a winner that's prajwal hegde who is the tennis editor of the times of india

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