No plans to suspend events in China over Peng Shuai, ITF chief says

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President of International Tennis Federation (ITF) told the BBC it had no plans to postpone events in China amid widespread concern for player Peng Shuai.

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Former doubles world number one Peng leveled sexual harassment allegations against former Chinese vice-prime minister Zhang Gaoli and then disappeared from public view last month, prompting the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to suspend its lucrative tournament in China last week. Gave.

ITF president David Haggerty said the sport’s governing body, which oversees the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup as well as several lower-level tournaments, does not have plans to follow suit.

IFT President David Haggerty has said that the allegations Peng brought up “need to be looked at,” and that the organization will continue to work “behind the scenes and directly to resolve it.”Clive Brunskill/Getty Images File

“You have to remember that the ITF is the governing body of the sport around the world, and one of the things we are responsible for is grassroots development,” said Haggerty. told the bbc In an interview published on Sunday.

“We don’t want to penalize a billion people, so we will continue to run our junior events and our senior events in the country,” he said.

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Haggerty said the allegations Peng brought forward “need to be looked at,” and that the ITF will “continue to work behind the scenes and directly to resolve it.”

ITF also released a short statement Last week, saying that it stands in support of women’s rights.

“Our primary concern is the well-being of Peng Shuai,” the statement said.

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Amid global concern over Peng’s whereabouts, the International Olympic Committee held a video call with her last month, telling her she was “safe and well” and saying she had asked for privacy. On Thursday, the IOC said it spoke with Peng again and was offering “widespread support” – but did not release video of the call or mention the allegations.

The WTA’s decision to pull its tournaments earned the support of current and former players, including the WTA founder. Billie Jean King But angered by Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said China “opposes the politicization of the game.”

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