The AELTC has updated details of arrangements for Wimbledon, including ticketing capacities, COVID-status certification, other health and safety requirements, prize money for competitors, initial wild cards, and the launch of our third consultation on the AELTC Wimbledon Park Project.
We very much look forward to staging an event that is a success for all, inspires players and fans alike, and creates a spotlight for tennis, and sport, in the UK and around the world. Ian Hewitt, AELTC Chairman
Further to discussions with Government, public health bodies and local authority Merton, The Championships 2021 has been approved to take place as a pilot event in the third phase of the Government Events Research Programme, which enables staging of the event within the current circumstances.
“It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that we are putting the finishing touches to our preparation for The Championships this year, and the return of the world’s best players to our grass courts, with ticket-holders in the stands,” Ian Hewitt, AELTC Chairman said in a statement.
“We very much look forward to staging an event that is a success for all, inspires players and fans alike, and creates a spotlight for tennis, and sport, in the UK and around the world.”
AELTC Chief Executive Sally Bolton, OBE added: “We are thrilled to be able to stage The Championships in front of a minimum 50 per cent capacity crowd as part of the Government Events Research Programme and extend our thanks to all those we are working closely with to make this happen from Government, the public health bodies, Merton, and of course our own teams.
“Our aspiration is to stage the best Championships possible, but it has always been our absolute priority to do this safely. We hope that the COVID-status certification requirements for ticket-holders, and the Minimised Risk Environment for players, their teams and officials, will provide the reassurance to those in our community, and all those who make Wimbledon happen, that we will deliver on this paramount objective.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden commented: “We are the first country in the world to be able to return a Grand Slam tournament to full capacity for the Men’s and Women’s final since the pandemic broke.
“We are able to do so because of the success of the vaccine rollout and building on what we have learnt so far from the Events Research Programme.
“We will be trialling COVID-status certification at The Championships in order to get as many people back as safely as possible across all the sporting and cultural events that make the Great British summer so special.”
An initial sale of tickets for the public will go live at wimbledon.com/2021tickets at 1pm BST on Thursday 17 June, and applicants must have been registered with myWIMBLEDON by midnight BST on Wednesday 16 June in order to access the ticketing platform for the initial sale. Further details on these ticket sales will be published shortly.
As a result, ticket-holders for The Championships will be required to follow strict entry requirements and provide consent to participate in the ERP’s science-led programme.
All ticket-holders attending The Championships will be required to show proof of COVID status upon entry, either in the form of both vaccinations (first and second dose), and with the second dose 14 days ago; or a negative lateral flow test (for those aged 11 and over).
Proof of a negative lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of attending the event can be displayed via SMS text, or via the NHS App.
Proof of vaccine can be displayed via the NHS App, NHS website (NHS.UK) or by downloading and printing off a PDF through the App or website.
A non-digital letter is also available through the NHS website using the ‘Get your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination status letter’ service or by phoning 119.
Users of the NHS App will also be able to show their natural immunity (through a positive PCR test in the last 180 days) through the NHS App.
Ticket-holders will be required to wear face coverings while moving around the Grounds but to further trial the suspension of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (face coverings and social distancing), the use of face coverings and social distancing will not be mandatory while ticket-holders are seated while at the venue.
This will enable ticket-holders to sit with any guest at any time, both in the court and in food and drink spaces, however we expect there still to be a form of social distancing around the Grounds, particularly in managing any queues.
In order to manage the flow of movement, the Grounds will open at the earlier time of 10am, with play commencing on outside courts at 11am, on No 1 Court at 1pm and on Centre Court at 1 30pm.
As agreed with the Government, The Championships 2021 will begin on Monday 28 June with 50 per cent capacity across the Grounds.
Stadium capacities for Centre Court and No 1 Court will open at 50 percent capacity, while the smaller Show Courts will be permitted to open at 75 percent capacity from Monday 28 June.
For the Fourth Round and Quarter-Finals, the AELTC aims to increase Centre and No 1 Courts allocations, along with a number of Grounds Passes, and for the Semi-Finals and Finals to have 100 percent capacity on Centre Court, with a small number of tickets on No 1 Court and Grounds Passes.
There may be further sales to come during the Fortnight depending on the progress of capacity modelling in partnership with Merton and the Events Research Programme team.
The Club encourages members of the public to take note of the obligations, particularly relating to COVID-status certification, before purchasing a ticket.
If double vaccinated, enough time to go through the steps to display this within the NHS App must be allowed, as it requires some personal information in the form of a photo and video.
All tickets will be displayed via the Official Wimbledon App (Wimbledon 2021), and must be produced, along with photo ID, on arrival at the AELTC.
The AELTC will be participating in the sport-wide ‘For the love of sport campaign’, in partnership with the SGSA, DCMS and other sports bodies, to encourage ticket-holders to behave responsibly when attending The Championships.
Any ticket-holder wishing to return their ticket will be eligible for a refund (which, for the purpose of Debenture ticket-holders is the face value of the public ticket for the applicable day) provided that they return their tickets at least 24 hours before their visit.
If any individual develops COVID symptoms, receives a positive test result or is identified as a close contact less than 24 hours before their visit, they are asked to contact the AELTC Ticket Office.
Players, their support teams and officials will be part of a Minimised Risk Environment both onsite and at the official hotels, with an approved testing programme in place in order for them to qualify for exemption from general public quarantine requirements and to protect the health and safety of all.
The AELTC also announced the total prize money fund for The Championships 2021 will be £35,016,000, with the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Champions each receiving £1,700,000.
When setting prize money levels for this year, the AELTC considered a number of factors, including constraints on crowd capacity; the substantial investment required to provide quality accommodation with a full range of services in order to create a Minimised Risk Environment as well as a comprehensive testing programme for players and their support teams; and significant financial support for the wider grass court season, both in the UK and Europe.
The total prize money fund of £35,016,000 represents a 5.2 per cent decrease on 2019 (£36,919,000) and despite the challenges outlined above, demonstrates the key strategic importance for The Championships to continue to invest in the players.
These figures are prize money only and do not take into account the cost of player accommodation that the AELTC will cover in 2021, which will cost several million pounds, in lieu of the £1,081,000 of per diem payments made directly to players in 2019.
As in previous years, and particularly in this challenging year for tour players, the focus of distribution has been on supporting players in the early rounds of the tournament, for example in the Qualifying Competition (a 17.5 per cent increase overall) and Main Draw singles players in the opening rounds (including a 6.7 per cent increase in first round prize money to £48,000).
Only four players in each singles draw will receive prize money at a lower level than was awarded in 2019.
The Wheelchair and Quad Wheelchair events will also receive a 17 per cent increase in prize money this year.
Earlier on Wednesday the Referee, Gerry Armstrong, announced the initial wild cards for this year’s Championships. These may be viewed here.
The AELTC will also be sharing the third phase of the AELTC Wimbledon Park Project Consultation, which is available at wimbledon.com/consultation, responding to the key areas of feedback received to date, outlining the key benefits to the local community and sharing an overview of the full proposals.
Most excitingly, these proposals include the creation of a ‘new park for London’, in the form of new free permissive public access to private land in the southern parkland.