The Wimbledon Tennis Championships will likely be played in front of reduced crowds this year, the All England Lawn Tennis Association (AELTC) has said.
The AELTC said that following government guidelines, its aspiration remains to stage the best Championships possible in the context of the public health situation this summer.
It said in a statement:
We are continuing to work closely with the UK Government, public health authorities and the rest of sport with the ambition of welcoming spectators safely to sports events this summer. Based on these conversations and taking on board the guidance provided by the Sports Ground Safety Authority, as well as transport and food and drink guidance, at this point in time, the most likely outcome for this year’s Championships, as an outdoor venue, is a reduced number of spectators within the Grounds.
However, we are taking every step to remain as flexible as possible to ensure we are able to react to changing circumstances that may allow an increase or require a decrease in attendance, both ahead of and during the Wimbledon Fortnight.
The AELTC said that a final decision will be left as late as possible in order to welcome the maximum number of guests, and manage its ticket distribution accordingly.
It said there will not be a Queue or Ticket Resale in operation for this year’s Championships. A series of infection control measures will be put in place.
Ian Hewitt, AELTC Chairman, commented:
These remain challenging and uncertain times, and our thoughts continue to be with all those affected by the pandemic. Although the promise of a return to a more normal existence is on the horizon, we are not there yet. As such, we have taken some key decisions in order to provide us with some certainty in our planning, and yet also to retain flexibility where we need it the most.
We remain committed to delivering on our aspiration of staging the best Championships possible. In line with the UK Government’s Roadmap, we are cautiously optimistic that The Championships will play an exciting role as the country begins to embrace a return towards normality. We remain humbled and heartened by the passion for Wimbledon shown by our fans around the world, and we so look forward to seeing the world’s best tennis players setting foot on our courts once again.
Meanwhile, amidst the planning for this year’s Championships, the AELTC has also begun to embark on a public consultation process for the AELTC Wimbledon Park Project, which refers to the developing proposals for the use of the AELTC’s landholding in Wimbledon Park.
The consultation is expected to conclude in June, with a planning application to be submitted in July. Subject to planning, it is envisaged that the project would commence in 2022, with the various aspects of the plan being delivered in sequence, including the staging of Qualifying within the AELTC’s extended Grounds by 2028.