The Australian Open has reversed its ban on ‘Where is Peng Shuai?’ t-shirts following international criticism.
Tennis Australia boss and tournament chief Craig Tiley informed multiple outlets of the backflip today.
TA had denied two spectators entry to Melbourne Park at the weekend for showing a banner and t-shirts protesting against the Chinese Communist Party’s alleged mistreatment of the tennis star.
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Banners will continue to be banned but shirts will be allowed.
“If anyone comes on site with an intent to disrupt and use the Australian Open as a platform for themselves and really disrupts the comfort and the safety of our fans, then they’re not welcome,” Tiley told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
“However, if someone wants to wear a t-shirt and make a statement about Peng Shuai that’s fine.
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“But what’s not fine is if that someone brings in a big banner and it’s got big poles attached to it and it’s used as something (which is dangerous), it really takes away from the comfort and safety of the fans.
“We’ll stick to those terms and conditions. One of the things that will be allowed is that if someone wants to wear a t-shirt (with) their personal view on something, but if they come in as a mob to disrupt, that’s not okay.”
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Social media footage showed security guards and police confiscating items from two people at the weekend, as TA exercised its position of not allowing political statements to be made at the tournament.
“I find it really, really cowardly. This is not a political statement, this is a human rights statement,” tennis legend Martina Navratilova said on the Tennis Channel, before the reversal.
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