Wimbledon shutdown woes may ricochet to LTA
Wimbledon has guaranteed the jobs of permanent employees during the COVID-19 crisis – but the same cannot be said for worker bees at Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association.
The Daily Mail reports that some at the cash-rich federation might have to be furloughed under a generous scheme put in place by the UK government which allows employees to keep their job and which pays them 80 per cent of their salary.
The upper limit for government largess is GBP 2,500 per month (3,125 USD).
The tabloid said that staff were warned in a Thursday online meeting that some cuts could well be made to a workforce which benefits each year to a massive surplus – around USD 50 million equivalent – paid out of Wimbledon Championships profits.
The 2020 edition of the grass-court major was called off this week due to the virus pandemic; no rescheduling was possible due to the delicate nature of the highly curated grass courts.
All tennis worldwide is suspended until through at least July 12 – the original Wimbledon finals day.
The paper said it had no information if the salary of the LTA’s top boss would be cut from GBP 421,000 (525,000 USD) as part of the emergency economy plan.
Wimbledon will be going into negotiations with its insurers to make claims on act of god insurance wisely taken out for a rainy day.
The LTA staff, located at Roehampton not far from Wimbledon in southwest London reportedly numbers nearly 300 for an annual salary bill of GBP 18 million (USD 22.5 million)
Later on Friday, the LTA took a decision, putting aside GBP 20 million (USD 25 million) to be used to aid tournaments, coaches, officials and lower-ranked players during the health crisis.
Singles players standing from 101 to 750 will be eligible for grants and LTA CEO Scott Lloyd and other executives will take a 20 per cent haircut on salaries.
The club has also offered its grounds in case of need in the fight against COVID-19.
Other Grand Slams have picked up that theme, with Roland Garros making the national training centre in Paris available. The US Open in the world epicentre of Queen’s New York, has already allowed a treatment facility to be set up in its indoor court complex.
In addition, the showcase Ashe stadium is being used as a nexus for virus relief efforts, including food and medical supplies.
It currently serves as a food preparation and distribution centre preparing up to 25,000 meal packs per day for hospital and healthcare workers.