MX23RW : Tuesday, January 18 19:20:03| >> :600:3460048:3460048:

ITF rules out suspending tournaments in China amid Peng Shuai controversy

ITF rules out suspending tournaments in China amid Peng Shuai controversy
© Reuters
The ITF insists that it will not "punish 1.4 billion people" by suspending tournaments in China amid concern surrounding Peng Shuai's safety.

The ITF has affirmed that it does not want to "punish 1.4 billion people" by suspending tournaments in China amid concern over Peng Shuai's safety.

The 35-year-old's wellbeing became a topic of international concern after she disappeared from the public eye following a sexual assault allegation against a former Chinese official.

The WTA has confirmed its intention to suspend tournaments in China while concerns remain over Shuai's safety, but the ITF will not follow suit.

"You have to remember that the ITF is the governing body of the sport worldwide, and one of the things that we are responsible for is grassroots development," ITF president David Haggerty told BBC Sport.

"We don't want to punish a billion people, so we will continue to run our junior events in the country and our senior events that are there for the time being."

Shuai has since taken part in video calls with the IOC and purportedly sent emails to the WTA confirming her safety, but CEO Steve Simon believes the contact is "100% orchestrated".

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