The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) board and management team have met to consider some operational decisions in relation to planning for Wimbledon 2021.
According to a statement, the AELTC is 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, it is taking every step to remain as flexible as possible to ensure it is 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.
For this reason, it is leaving decisions on public capacity as late as it can in order to welcome the maximum number of guests, and manage our ticket distribution accordingly. As a result, rather than risk ongoing uncertainty and disappointment this year, the AELTC intends to give everyone who was successful in the Wimbledon Public Ballot in 2020 the opportunity to purchase tickets to The Championships 2022 for the same day and court, subject of course to the regulations and guidance prevailing at the relevant time. This is in order to ensure, as far as reasonably possible, a fair and equal opportunity for all these individuals to attend The Championships. For the same reasons the LTA will not be holding its ballot for tickets to The Championships this year, but will be providing an online platform for ticket sales in June.
In addition, given the likelihood of continued social distancing requirements and with consideration for the health and safety of all the public, there will not be a Queue or Ticket Resale in operation for this year’s Championships. In the absence of the Queue, the Wimbledon Public Ballot and the LTA Ballot this year, tickets for the public to attend The Championships 2021 will be made available online and we anticipate this will begin in June.
In line with UK Government and public health guidance, the AELTC is also putting in place a series of infection control measures. One of the priority measures is to create a minimised risk environment for the players. As such, based on current guidance, there will be official hotels for all players, their support teams, and key groups such as officials, which will be a mandatory requirement for entry into and participation in this year’s Championships.
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.”