The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir reports the Tennis Channel has scrapped plans to televise the Barclays Dubai Championships in protest over the UAE’s refusal to admit Israel’s Sharar Peer (above). No word yet on Bruce Ratner’s intent to disassociate himself from Barclays.
œThis is an easy decision to come by, based on what is right and wrong, Ken Solomon, the chairman and chief executive of the network, said Monday from Utah.
œSports are about merit, absent of background, class, race, creed, color or religion. They are simply about talent. This is a classic case, not about what country did what to another country. If the state of Israel were barring a citizen of an Arab nation, we would have made the same decision.
The $2 million tournament is a premier nonmajor tournament on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour with 9 of the world™s top 10 women. Peer is ranked No. 48.
Solomon, who said he would consider carrying the tournament next year if Peer were granted a visa, said he began thinking Sunday about canceling the network™s coverage. He spoke to his staff and to board members, and heard no significant dissent, before calling Larry Scott, the chairman and chief executive of the WTA Tour, on Monday.
Scott said by telephone that he was not expecting the network™s cancellation, but that he understood it.
œI™m sorry it was in the position of having to make the decision, he said, adding, œWe™ve got some of the same feelings but many more complications.