Peer granted Bali visa
Dr Ian Froman, the chairman of the Israel Tennis Association, said he was relieved to see an aversion "of a clash between sport and politics" after Shahar Peer was granted a visa into the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions, held in Bali, Indonesia.
Dr Froman said that the Indonesian government, which does not have diplomatic ties with Israel, decided to grant Peer a visa despite “some of its politicians saying she shouldn't be accepted”.
He said: “Despite strong opposition to the decision, the government didn't want to go head-to-head with the sport's governing bodies."
Tennis’ governing bodies have the right to take sanctions against tournament organisers if competitors are refused entry into the country of competition.
This became clear after Peer was caught in the middle of a scandal in February in which she was unable to compete in the Dubai Tennis Championships after the United Arab Emirates government refused to grant her a visa. Tournament organisers were fined a record £198,000 by the WTA Tour, as a result of breaching tour rules.
Kevin Livesey, director of the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions, admitted it was part of the WTA’s rules that every player who is qualified “has to play in the tournament”.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said: "We don't have diplomatic ties with Israel but in certain cases, where we're hosting events that should have Israeli representation, we could grant them an entry visa."
Dr Froman, who said tournament organisers have welcomed Peer with “open arms”, added that he hopes Indonesia's decision in previous years to boycott sporting events with Israel, including in women's tennis’ premier national team tournament, the Federation Cup, "will be a thing of the past".
The 12-woman tournament, which Peer qualifies for as a result of being ranked number 32 in the world, takes place this week.