DUBAI // The organisers of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championship are to appeal against the US$300,000 (Dh1.1m) fine imposed on them by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) following the controversial exclusion of the Israeli Shahar Peer from the women's event. Dubai Duty Free (DDF), who have underwritten the annual festival since its launch in 1993, are also challenging other points in the letter of censure they received from Larry Scott, the chief executive of the WTA. Colm McLoughlin, the managing director of DDF, said: "We are going to appeal against that fine. In that letter we also have notice that if all players are not allowed entry in future that they will withdraw the sanction of the tournament.
"But there has been a statement recently from the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs that all players are welcome to come and play, as was the case when Andy Ram [the Israeli men's doubles specialist] took part." Asked whether an aggressive response to the WTA censure may increase tension between the two parties and put the future of the two-week Dubai festival at risk, McLoughlin responded: "In my opinion there is no danger that the tournament will be pulled [from the calendar].
"We don't see it as quite fair. The rules of the WTA state that the tournament should make every effort to get visas for the players, and we did make every effort. "There are other parts in the letter regarding the posting of a $2m bond for the prize money in advance. We are not too happy about that because we have proved that we are good payers in the past." The 2010 staging of the event will be the last at the Aviation Club before moving to Dubai Sports City.
"If we had a wish we would probably like to keep the tournament here," he said. "When we were upgraded, to a 500 event on the men's tour and a Premier Five on the women's, then the rules stated that we had to have a stadium with at least 7,500 capacity. This is one is only 5,000." firstname.lastname@example.org