If Roland Garros is forced to cut daily crowd numbers to a miniscule 1,000 the effect on the French federation budget would be massive.
That’s the fear stalking organisers of the clay-court major which begins on Sunday after French officials declared the paris area a fresh COVID-19 hotspot.
While consultations between police and tournament officials are currently underway, no decision will be forthcoming, L’Equipe reported. But cutting crowds under the government’s emergency decree remains a plausible possibility.
The decision will likely be revealed at the last possible moment.
Ticket sales make up around 18 per cent of tournament income, with the 15-day Grand Slam comprising a massive 80 per cent of the federation’s annual budget, the respected sports daily reported (EUR 260 million of a EUR 325 million budget).
Admitting fans onto the compact 12-hectare grounds of the tennis complex has been a numbers game for months.
Original plans called for 20,000 per day, with 10,000 for each of the two the finals. That was then cut by government order to 11,500, then to 5,000. Now, 1,000 looms.
While tournament officials say no fresh limits have yet been applied, the subject is apparently undergoing heated discussion.
“As soon as we put in place gauges and limitations, it necessarily has an impact on any type of big event. We are waiting for the result of the consultation, ” French health minister Olivier Véran told L’Equipe. .
“I announced that there would be a consultation for 48 hours between the Paris police prefect and the elected officials to determine the conditions of application of the rules.
“You will have the result of this consultation when it has taken place. As soon as we put gauges and limitations in place, it necessarily has an impact on any type of big event. Let’s wait for the result of the consultation. “