No pandemic insurance for Wimbledon in 2021
The organisers of the Wimbledon tennis championships will not be able to get pandemic insurance for next year's event but insist the sport is in good health in the UK even with the cancellation of this year’s tournament.
Wimbledon 2020, which would have started today, was called off in April as a result of the coronavirus crisis, although the All England Lawn Tennis Club had the safeguard of a seven-figure-pound insurance policy it had taken out to address such an eventuality.
Richard Lewis, the outgoing chief executive of AELTC, has admitted that it will not have a similar policy in place for the grand slam tournament in 2021 but will seek similar protection in the future.
He told reporters: “That’s impossible in the current climate. What I would say about the future though is that, when I first started in 2012, there were some signs that things were not insurable, because of communicable diseases that had taken place like SARS and swine flu.
“In the immediate aftermath, you can’t get insurance, but fairly soon after that, the market returns. So, there won’t be insurance next year, but I think in the medium term, just because we’ve made one claim it won’t affect us in the long term.”
Wimbledon generates over £250 million ($308 million) in revenue per year, with 90 per cent of the surplus going to the UK’s Lawn Tennis Association for development and grassroots projects, and Lewis does not believe that the sport will suffer inordinately from the loss of this year’s tournament.
The LTA received over £45 million from the AELTC in 2019.
Lewis said: “There are over 10 insurance companies involved in the claim, and we’re probably about a third of the way through. It will take two or three months to work through but I’m optimistic that the surplus will be pretty well protected and therefore the impact will be somewhat minimised.”
He is stepping down at the end of July, and will be succeeded by the AELTC’s current operations director Sally Bolton.
Wimbledon is thought to be the only major sports event to have had pandemic insurance in place for this year.
Of the other grand slams yet to be held, the US Open is due to go ahead, behind closed doors, in New York on its original dates of 31 August to 13 September, while the French Open in Paris, which was scheduled for late May and early June, has been moved to 27 September to 11 October.
The presently suspended men's ATP Tour and women's WTA Tour are due to resume in August.