Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A boycott?

As Diane at Women Who Serve noted yesterday, the reason for Shahar Peer's visa denial by the United Arab Emirates was because tournament organizers feared a boycott by fans.
I was a little surprised by this revelation because I didn't think tennis was all that popular in the United Arab Emirates in the first place. And given Islamic rules on the presence of women in not a lot of clothing, I would think it just wouldn't be a huge issue because not a lot of people would turn up anyway.
Weren't all these issues raised when the announcement about WTA tournaments in the Middle East (Qatar and UAE) was made?
To me it seems the issue would not be losing a lot of fans, but of finding a lot of people gathering in protest.
As has been reported elsewhere, next week Israeli Andy Ram, who is arguably less well-know than Peer, is slated to play in Dubai. No word on how that situation is playing out.