Coronavirus: Wimbledon hailed as 'class act' over £10million payout to sidelined stars

By Sports Desk July 10, 2020

Wimbledon has been praised for its "amazing" decision to pay players £10million from a prize money pot despite the 2020 tournament being cancelled.

The All England Club (AELTC) had pandemic insurance, meaning its decision to call off the championships in April was not one that risked becoming a huge financial blow.

It was revealed on Friday that 620 players would benefit, based on world rankings, potentially handing a lifeline to lowly players from across the world who may be struggling to make ends meet.

Wimbledon is paying out £25,000 per competitor to 256 players from the men's and women's singles, and £12,500 to a further 224 players who would have taken part in qualifying.

Doubles players and those from the wheelchair events will also collect money from the fund, with Wimbledon stressing there would be only one payment per player, meaning there could be no claims for multiple events.

Three-time US Open champion Kim Clijsters wrote on Twitter: "Amazing news — always a class act and leader of our sport!! Well done @Wimbledon – can't wait to be back next year!"

Clijsters, 37, was in the early stages of a comeback after seven years in retirement when the COVID-19 outbreak led to tennis being suspended across the globe.

The Belgian is a two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist who would have almost certainly received a wildcard into this year's tournament.

Spain's Paula Badosa, the world number 94, indicated what the windfall would mean to rank-and-file players.

"Such a nice gesture @Wimbledon on these tough moments. Means the world for us, thank you," Badosa wrote.

Wimbledon said its decision was taken "in the spirit of the AELTC's prize money distribution in recent years".

This year marked the first time Wimbledon had been called off since World War II. Its finals would have been contested this weekend.

AELTC chief executive Richard Lewis said: "Immediately following the cancellation of the championships, we turned our attention to how we could assist those who help make Wimbledon happen.

"We know these months of uncertainty have been very worrying for these groups, including the players, many of whom have faced financial difficulty during this period and who would have quite rightly anticipated the opportunity to earn prize money at Wimbledon based on their world ranking.

"We are pleased that our insurance policy has allowed us to recognise the impact of the cancellation on the players and that we are now in a position to offer this payment as a reward for the hard work they have invested in building their ranking to a point where they would have gained direct entry into the championships 2020."

Related items

  • Barcelona confirm March 7 presidential election with postal votes allowed Barcelona confirm March 7 presidential election with postal votes allowed

    Barcelona have announced their presidential election will take place on March 7.

    The club had to postpone the vote to name Josep Maria Bartomeu's replacement, initially scheduled for January 24, due to coronavirus concerns.

    The regional government of Catalonia declared it could not grant Barcelona's members permission to travel beyond their local areas to cast votes due to tightened restrictions aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19.

    Instead, Barca have agreed to hold the election in 40 days' time. Members will have the option to vote by mail, using their local post office or, for those over 65 or with medical conditions, via a home courier service.

    Due to nationwide health protocols, Barca said only polling stations located in Catalonia or in Andorra will be open to members to vote in person.

    The three remaining candidates for the election are favourite Joan Laporta, Victor Font and Toni Freixa.

    Barcelona said in a club statement: "The managing commission would like to make it clear that during this period the club will continue to work closely with the Catalan government and the health and local authorities to best organise the elections so that they can be carried out in the best conditions possible."

  • Premier League COVID-19 cases drop again with eight new positives Premier League COVID-19 cases drop again with eight new positives

    The Premier League has announced eight new positive cases from its most recent two rounds of coronavirus testing, half the amount of players and club staff who tested positive the previous week.  

    Testing was ramped up to twice a week earlier this month due to a rise in the infection rate across the league and the United Kingdom in general.  

    A record 40 positives were identified between December 28 and January 3, with a further 36 cases confirmed the following week.  

    However, the number dropped by 20 between January 11 and 17 and has seen another significant decrease this time around.  

    Across the two rounds carried out between January 18 and 24, 2,518 players and staff were tested for the virus – eight returned positive results.  

    The Premier League does not provide specific information over who the individuals are who test positive, nor which clubs they are associated with.

  • De Ligt back for Juventus after recovering from COVID-19 De Ligt back for Juventus after recovering from COVID-19

    Matthijs de Ligt has been cleared to join up with his Juventus team-mates after recovering from COVID-19.

    The centre-back tested positive on January 8 and went into isolation, meaning he missed the Serie A games against Sassuolo and Inter, as well as the Supercoppa Italiana clash with Napoli.

    However, having returned two clear swab tests, De Ligt will be included in Andrea Pirlo's squad for Sunday's home fixture with Bologna.

    "Matthijs de Ligt carried out, as per protocol, two controls of molecular test (swab) for Covid-19 with negative results," a statement from the club read. 

    "Therefore, the player has recovered and is no longer subjected to the isolation regime.

    "He will join the team at the J Hotel for the retreat this evening and will be included in the squad list for tomorrow's match."

    De Ligt has started 12 games in all competitions so far in the 2020-21 season; Juve have only lost once when the defender has played in Serie A, a 3-0 home reverse to Fiorentina.

    The Netherlands international missed the start of the campaign after undergoing shoulder surgery in August, returning to action in late November.

    Juventus are chasing a 10th straight league title in Italy, though have found the going tough in Pirlo's first season in charge and go into the game with Bologna outside the top four in the table.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.