UAE assure Peer visa

Israeli tennis player given written confirmation of UAE visa entry amid protests.

    Peer complains about protesters disrupting her match in Auckland [GALLO/GETTY]
    The United Arab Emirates will allow Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer to participate in the Dubai Tennis Championships which start on February 15.

    The decision was given in written confirmation to the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) with the UAE authorities saying that it will allow Peer to participate.

    Peer was denied entry into the UAE last year, apparently because of anti-Israel sentiments in the Gulf state following a three-week conflict in Gaza last year.

    Tournament organisers were fined $300,000 for denying the visa last year and were made to promise to meet other requirements.

    "The tour has received written confirmation from the UAE Ministry of Interior that she will be able to enter and participate in the event without incident,'' WTA spokeswoman Katie Scott said.

    Written confirmation

    "One of the conditions that Dubai had to meet was that this year there would have to be a written confirmation that she would be able to play because last year there were just verbal assurances,'' Scott said.

    The government of the UAE could not immediately be reached for comment.

    After the UAE's refusal last year to allow Peer to enter the country, Israeli player Andy Ram was given a visa to play the following week at the men's tournament in Dubai.

    But Andy Roddick, the 2008 champion in Dubai, skipped the 2009 tournament because of the incident involving Peer, saying he "didn't agree with what went on over there.''

    Peer, ranked 30 in the world, is currently participating at a tournament in Auckland, New Zealand. She has been facing more anti-Israel protests, with police arresting one person outside the stadium.

    "I also want peace in the world but I don't think this is the place for this protest,'' the 22-year-old Peer said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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