On Friday, the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour announced a series of penalties for the Dubai Tennis Championships due to the UAE’s refusal to allow Israeli Shahar Peer to enter the country. Whether the tournament would exist next year has been the subject of much speculation, but these actions indicate that the tour is willing to allow the event to continue as long as it meets certain conditions. Because of their violation of tour rules, the tournament has been fined US$300,000, which will be used to compensate Shahar Peer and her doubles partner Anna-Lena Groenefeld, which the remaining balance being donated to charity. Peer will receive $44,250 in compensation. This is an average of her singles and doubles prize money per tournament in 2008 inflated to 2009 prize money standards.
In addition to the financial penalty, the tournament has been given instructions that it must be able to confirm that all eligible players will be able to play the event next year. The event will not exist if it is not able to guarantee that what transpired this year will not happen again. Shahar Peer will also be promised a wildcard into next year’s event if she does not make it into the tournament based on rank.
The tour’s reaction to Peer’s exclusion seems to be quite lenient, but it was likely tempered by Dubai’s change of policy with regard to the men’s event next week. Due to the public outcry regarding the barring of Peer, Israel’s Andy Ram has been granted permission to play the tournament. Both Peer and Tour CEO Larry Scott have publicly welcomed the change, which appears to indicate that Peer will not have a problem entering the event in the future.