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‘We’ll cancel rather than shut out fans’

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There are only 375 full members and there is a strong feeling among many that without the social aspect the tournament should not go ahead

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THE All England Club are considering cancelling Wimbledon this year rather than staging the Championships behind closed doors.

The fate of the tournament will ultimately be decided by the government, who are co-ordinating sport’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, but it is understood that there is extreme reluctance in SW19 to contemplate holding their iconic event without spectators.

The issue was discussed at a meeting of the major sports’ governing bodies and broadcasters at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport earlier this week, with Wimbledon’s position believed to differ markedly from other sports such as football and racing, who are determined to keep events on for as long as possible even if it means shutting out fans.

The All England Club were represented at the meeting by Paul Davies, their head of broadcast and production. Wimbledon’s position is understood to be down to the All England Club’s financial strength, their obligations to members, and the Championship’s image.

There are only 375 full members and there is a strong feeling among many that without the social aspect the tournament should not go ahead.

The All England Club are also comfortable with the insurance provisions they have in place, unlike the Football Association who are not covered for loss of profits.