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International Tennis Federation puts staff on furlough, implements pay cuts

Kosmos Holding founder Gerard Pique (right) poses with ITF president David Haggerty during the draw ceremony for the Davis Cup Finals at Real Casa de Correos on February 14, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Getty Images)

The International Tennis Federation has announced it will put approximately half of its staff on furlough and cut other employees’ salaries because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The move involves 10 or 20 per cent pay cuts for staff while ITF president David Haggerty has agreed to a 30 per cent reduction for the remainder of the year.

The ITF said it has postponed more than 900 tournaments across all its circuits, including the Fed Cup. The Davis Cup finals remains scheduled for late November.

Haggerty said in a statement: “The situation we are facing represents a fundamental challenge to our organization and our sport. Our purpose is to ensure the long-term growth and sustainability of our sport in collaboration with our 210 member nations, which is why we are making difficult decisions in the short term so that we can continue to deliver tennis for future generations across the globe.”

Professional tennis is on hold amid the ongoing public health crisis, with the ATP and WTA suspending their tours until at least July 13.

Earlier this month, the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced the cancellation of this summer’s Wimbledon championships due to the health crisis. It is the first time since World War II that the tennis grand slam has been called off.

The French Open, meanwhile, has been provisionally postponed from May until late September.

Andrea Gaudenzi, the new chairman of the ATP tennis tour, has said the Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the need for a more collective model in tennis, suggesting that tennis media rights are too “fragmented” and bemoaning the tendency for tournaments to act unilaterally.