The All England Club, which hosts Wimbledon, announced Friday that it will pay prize money to all players who would have qualified for the canceled tournament.
Pulling from a pot of £10 million ($12.6 million), the organization will distribute prize money to the "620 players whose world ranking would have enabled them to gain entry into The Championships 2020 by direct acceptance into the Main Draw or Qualifying event."
Here's how players will be paid:
256 players who would have competed in Main Draw Singles will each receive £25,000 ($31,576) 224 players who would have competed in Qualifying will each receive £12,500 ($15,788) 120 players who would have competed in Main Draw Doubles will each receive £6,250 ($7,894) 16 players who would have competed in the Wheelchair events will each receive £6,000 ($7,578) Four players who would have competed in the Quad Wheelchair events will each receive £5,000 ($6,315)
"Immediately following the cancellation of The Championships, we turned our attention to how we could assist those who help make Wimbledon happen. We know these months of uncertainty have been very worrying for these groups, including the players, many of whom have faced financial difficulty during this period and who would have quite rightly anticipated the opportunity to earn prize money at Wimbledon based on their world ranking," Wimbledon chief executive Richard Lewis said in the statement. "We are pleased that our insurance policy has allowed us to recognise the impact of the cancellation on the players and that we are now in a position to offer this payment as a reward for the hard work they have invested in building their ranking to a point where they would have gained direct entry into The Championships 2020."
Wimbledon had been scheduled to run from June 29 to July 12, but was canceled in April due to the coronavirus pandemic. This marked the first time the tournament had been canceled since World War II in 1945 and the first time it has not been played in peacetime since 1877.
So far, Wimbledon is the only tennis major to be canceled this season. The Australian Open was completed as scheduled ahead of the pandemic shutting down the sports world. The US Open remains scheduled for its planned run of Aug. 31-Sept. 13. The French Open is slated to start seven days later on Sept. 20, after being moved from its customary position as the sport's second major of the year.
There are unsanctioned, shady table tennis tournaments taking place overseas right now and until very recently you were able to bet on them. This morning ESPN reported that New Jersey was suspending gambling on Ukrainian table tennis because the gaming commission had been warned about potential match fixing, but it's actually much more complicated and hilarious than that.
For months people have been looking to fill the sports void in their lives with anything. Especially gamblers, who have been reduced to betting on video games and the accuracy of the weather report (probably). So when online betting sites started pushing table tennis tournaments from the other side of the globe, people were happy to jump on the opportunity, wagering hundreds of thousands a day.
There are stories about this on ESPN in May and Forbes in June and it's pretty wild. Basically, the governing bodies of table tennis in these countries have shut down because of the pandemic and multiple tournaments are being played every day.
The president of the Ukrainian Tennis Table Federation on March 30 urged the stoppage of Setka Cup matches due to the pandemic, saying that anyone who played was subject to disqualification from future UTTF competitions. The UTTF would later disqualify 365 players for competing in Setka Cup matches during the pandemic.
According to Forbes, matches take place all day and appear to only exist for bettors. It is also impossible to tell the players or the score by watching the streams that cut out in the middle of matches.
But then one look at the tournament names in the Sekta Cup tells you all you need to know about the sporting purity of this competition. “2020-03-14 Men Morning Australia”, “2020-03-04 Men Evening Africa”, “2020-03-13 Men Evening Europe”. Competitors are not being flown all over the world to take part in prestigious table tennis tournaments–they are playing them all from the same spectator-free hall somewhere in the Ukraine. The tournaments are nakedly timed to meet betting peak times in various parts of the world.
ESPN previously ran a piece in May about how questionable these tournaments were. One person they were able to talk to said they weren't even being played in their home countries.
Marina Znamenskaya, sales and marketing manager with SportLevel, a company that provides data and livestreams and claims Liga Pro as a partner, said in an email to ESPN that the matches are taking place in China, the Czech Republic and Belarus. The locations are secret for a variety of reasons, she wrote, including to prevent fraud and hinder anyone from contacting the athletes.
Someone should really try to get broadcasting rights for these round-the-clock table tennis tournaments played in undisclosed locations. Add a few graphics and a score bug and we can gamble on this stuff again in no time.
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