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Israeli Shahar Peer denied visa for UAE and Dubai tournament

Shahar PeerIsraeli world No.48 Shahar Peer has been denied entry into the United Arab Emirates for the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, and will hence not be able to play the tournament which features all the world's top-10 ranked women's players and for which she is qualified by ranking.

UAE have not explained the reason for not giving Peer a visa, but the country does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

WTA chief executive Larry Scott said the women's tour was "deeply disappointed" by the decision.

"Ms Peer has earned the right to play in the tournament and it's regrettable that the UAE is denying her this right," he said.

"Ms Peer and her family are obviously extremely upset and disappointed by the decision of the UAE and its impact on her personally and professionally."

Peer was supposed to play 15th seed Anna Chakvetadze in the first round of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships. (source: BBC, photo: AnalogKid203)

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19 thoughts on “Israeli Shahar Peer denied visa for UAE and Dubai tournament

  1. RichF

    If the WTA had any stones they would announce the contract for this tournament would not be renewed unless Peer gets her visa.

  2. Nomi

    Please send a protest to the WTA and the tournament organisers. Politics and sport do not mix. It is not enough for the WTA to say they are disappointed. This tournament should be banned.

    Protest the exclusion of Shahar Peer from the Dubai Tennis Championships.

    Here are some links you can send your protest letters too:

    The WTA (Women's Tennis Association): http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/3/thewtatour/contact/

    The Dubai Tennis Championships:
    http://www.barclaysdubaitennischampionships.com/4/contact/contact.asp

    The sponors of the tournament: http://www.barclaysdubaitennischampionships.com/4/sponsors/

  3. steve

    Absolutely disgusting! Players have voiced their support but they should all boycott the tourney and show Larry Scott, the WTA, the UAE, Dubai Duty Free and the world that this is unacceptable!

  4. Justice

    I disagree. She is no victim. She preferred to serve in the military that has murdered many innocent Palestinians instead of playing tennis. As a star, she could have avoided military service. Killing thousands of Palestinians in Gaza is not politics. Now she's playing politics and trying to destroy this tournament.

  5. Luc Ameel

    We also do find this tournament is a disgrace for the WTA tour and should be banned.We did allready send a mail to SHAHAR and Dubai and the WTA but you will see:money will win again.By the way:why does the UAE who are sooooooooooo rich does not help a bit all those poor Palestinians.They refuse SHAHAR but it's all they do.Luc and Vero

  6. Jon

    Hey justice… or lack thereof… You are the one playing politics obviously. If you want to go there then I'll say this. Don't condemn her for being a good citizen and helping to defend her borders against terrorism. And yes, blindly shooting rockets into another country is terrorist provocation. She just did what every Israeli citizen does, serve her country, and is to be commended for it.

    I'm sorry, but it's hard not to draw a conclusion about an Arab's word, after hearing again and again how they break it. The whole time they said to the WTA "no problem, she'll get her visa, It's being worked out with the very highest levels of government.", it was a stall tactic, and all to make a political statement with sport. Is duplicity a cultural thing with arab culture, because that's the real statement they are making to the world. Dishonorable and a word as good as dirt. Way to shoot yourself in the foot Dubai…

    Sporting events are about fairness and a connectedness of people on a level that transcends political boundries and ideologies. It's one thing to make a statement by not attending a sporting even (and even that's reprehensible) but to abuse your power and force it on a deserving athlete is truly despicable. I sincerely hope that Dubai is not allowed any international sporting events in the future. And they are supposed to be the "progressive" arab country. For that reason I implore the WTA to think twice about any Arab League country.

  7. Tipo

    I think politics should be taken out of sport, after september 11 should the US have stopped or thrown all Arabs out of the US?

  8. Stefano Roberti

    I remind all readers that Israel has recently killed more than 1300 innocent civilians including lots of children. I strongly believe that what the UAE government are doing is perfectly legitimate and understandable.

  9. Alice

    We are entering the smoothing things over phase now. There may be a token one year suspension to match The UAE's token gesture to local Muslim sensitivity. But fact is, Sheik Macktoum and co are more interested in race horses in England than starting being the centre of a culture war. There is no appetite for a serious confrontation by any party, whether WTA, ITF, or UAE and Israeli officials.

  10. Alice

    We are entering the smoothing things over phase now. There may be a token one year suspension to match The UAE's token gesture to local Muslim sensitivity. But fact is, Sheik Macktoum and co are more interested in race horses in England than waging idealogical warfare. There is no appetite for a serious confrontation by any party, whether WTA, ITF, or UAE and Israeli officials.

  11. Mariam

    I wish there was this much outrage when the Palestinian national team are refused permission to leave Palestine by Israel to play qualifiers or friendlies in football/soccor.

  12. Alice

    Mariam, I can only speak for myself, but if this had been say an Iranian female tennis player refused a visa for no good reason by Israel, then I would be the first to support her. Although, I find such a scenario hard to concieve.

    Most tennis fans don't have any idealogical axe to grind. Most of us believe in fairness and inclusiveness regardless of color or creed. Part of the reason why I love tennis so much is because it's such a great escapism from all the crap, politics, and prejudice of the real world. So it's very frustraing when one country now decides to play politics with a professsional tennis players career.

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  14. Mariam

    Alice I completely understand why you would like to watch tennis. I think that escapism is the reason why a lot of us watch tennis. My point was that there are other sports that other people chose to watch as escapism and I just wish that the outrage felt for Peer was felt for other sports people who are suffering the same kind of injustice.

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