Peng Shuai case: WTA withdraws from China

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has cancelled all tennis tournaments in China and Hong Kong as a result of the Peng Shuai case. "In good conscience, I don't see how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has seemingly been pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault," WTA chief executive Steve Simon said, explaining the move. Europe's press hopes other organisations will take similar action.

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Politiken (DK) /

Association serves an ace

Other international sports institutions can learn from this move by the Women's Tennis Association, Politiken stresses:

“The strength lies in the fact that an active athletes' organisation is behind this move. With the current examples of the World Cup and the Olympics in mind, the WTA is at the same time highlighting the weakness of other sports in which for decades power-hungry and corrupt decision-makers have decided over the heads of the active athletes, who are now becoming symbolic hostages and have no influence over the bad decisions to hold next year's World Cup in Qatar and the Winter Games in Beijing.”

Kauno diena (LT) /

Punish Beijing with empty boxes

Website Kauno diena hopes the WTA's decision will also up the pressure with regard to the Olympic Games:

“This time the leaders in Beijing want to show that they are not unwelcome among the international political elite. But no matter how hard the hosts try, the Games will probably disappoint them. Yes, there will be real competitions and medals, but there will also be a yawning void in the VIP box. ... The White House is sending an encouraging signal that it's time to stop talking about sport and art being unrelated to politics, and that unofficial side events can be used very effectively to bring dictators to reason.”

Aargauer Zeitung (CH) /

Bigger guns are needed

The IOC and other sports organisations must follow the WTA's example, urges the Aargauer Zeitung:

“A look at the past shows that the Chinese regime has so far done well by simply sitting out similar crises. The economic power of the world's most populous country is too overwhelming. The WTA's move is laudable and historic, but only time will tell whether it has the scope to change the way China is treated in the long term. Women's tennis has fired the last cartridge in its magazine. But as long as organisations like the International Olympic Committee and its revoltingly opportunistic president Thomas Bach continue to cozy up to autocrats and put their own interests first, the cartridge won't fire as planned.”