The WTA has suspended the two tournaments in China that will run in March after a report surfaced accusing three of the tournament organizers of doping violations and said that the commission has opened a criminal investigation into the case.
The WTA had no immediate comment. They released the following statement:
“With the highest level of respect for the WTA, we have decided to place the tournaments in Zhuhai and Ningbo on hold while the criminal investigation continues to make its findings,” WTA said in a statement. “We have suspended all the ticket sales for the 2nd and 3rd days of these tournaments until further notice. However, fans who purchased tickets for the rest of the tournament are still allowed to attend.”
In a report from the Association of Tennis Professionals, WTA announced the tournament organizers, QTA, will be suspended “until further notice” pending the criminal investigation.
Read the report:
QTA head of competitions, Gilles Gabriel, Hu Bingtao, and chairman of the Shanghai Enterprise Group Jianping Wang were arrested on Monday and charged with corruption on multiple occasions, a QTA spokesman told Reuters. The three defendants were later released on bail, the spokesman said.
QTA said in a statement on Wednesday that their employees were indicted in connection with “alleged corrupt activities in ticket sales,” adding that QTA is also taking disciplinary action against several of its sales employees. QTA told Reuters that Gabriel and Wang had resigned.
According to the spokesman, the investigation began when the bodies announced in October that they would conduct an audit of QTA’s ticket sales operations and potential discriminatory acts by its ticketing services.
Hu is the former president of the National Tennis Centre and Zhang, the chairman of the Shanghai Enterprise Group, is the president of the Shanghai International Tennis Club, according to their websites.
QTA’s operations director, Liu Zhong is also facing charges after an audit found he’d used the QTA email addresses to send false receipts for special tours and the QTA debit card for personal purchases, the spokesman told Reuters.