Wimbledon cancels tournament for the first time since World War II over coronavirus concerns

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the All England Club announced on Wednesday that the 2020 Wimbledon Championships will be canceled. It’s the first time the tournament has been canceled since World War II.

In a statement, the All England Club explained their reasons for canceling instead of postponing, as the French Open has done. They’ve spent a significant amount of time considering the impact the UK’s public health restrictions will have on preparations, which began in April and would’ve continued right up through the June 29 start date.

In the end, due to the risk for personnel and the lack of available supplies, they decided that cancellation was the only option.

These considerations are particularly related to the concerns brought about by mass gatherings and the strain on the medical and emergency services, as well as movement and travel restrictions both within the UK and around the world. With the likelihood that the Government’s measures will continue for many months, it is our view that we must act responsibly to protect the large numbers of people required to prepare The Championships from being at risk – from the training of ball boys and girls to thousands of officials, line judges, stewards, players, suppliers, media and contractors who convene on the AELTC Grounds – and equally to consider that the people, supplies and services legally required to stage The Championships would not be available at any point this summer, thus ruling out postponement.

The All England Club also announced that all tickets for the 2020 Wimbledon Championships will be refunded, and those who purchased tickets will get a chance to buy tickets to the 2021 tournament for the same day and court as 2020.

The Club is also offering its facilities to the National Health Service and turned its attention toward responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

Our efforts will now be focused on contributing to the emergency response and supporting those affected by the coronavirus crisis. We have begun distributing medical equipment and offered the use of our facilities to the NHS and to the London Resilience Partnership, the collection of agencies in London fighting the battle against COVID-19. We are working with the local authorities in Merton and Wandsworth, particularly on food distribution, and we are distributing food supplies through our partnership with City Harvest.

The All England Club did not announce any specific initiatives to support the tennis players who rely on Wimbledon for income, but mentioned that they’re developing plans. Those plans also apply to “our loyal staff, to whom we take our responsibility very seriously.”

The 2021 Wimbledon Championships will take place from June 28 to July 11, 2021.

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