According to the IOC statement, Bach invited Peng to dinner when he arrives for the Beijing Games, where Terho and Li Lingwei, an IOC member and official of the Chinese Tennis Federation, who also took part in the call would be present.
However, the apparently friendly jokes and dinner plans did not satisfy Steve Simon, the chief executive of the WTA Tour. Simon has been trying to establish independent contact with Peng for more than a week, but his criticism of the Chinese government becomes increasingly fierce when the government-controlled media entities released a series of photos and videos of her.
In a statement on Sunday following the release of the IOC video, a WTA spokesperson and Simon said: “It was good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they do not alleviate or address the WTA’s concerns about her well-being. … and the ability to communicate without censorship or coercion. This video does not change our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault, the issue that gave rise to our initial concern.”
While several top sports officials have spoken out on Peng’s behalf, asking the “Where’s Peng Shuai” question that has gone viral in recent weeks, only Simon has made it clear that his organization will not hold tournaments in China if the government does not grant its permission. to move freely, speak openly about the assault allegations, and investigate the incident.
The move could cost women’s tennis hundreds of millions of dollars in investment from China, but in a letter to the Chinese ambassador to the US on Friday, Simon reiterated the organization’s stance. He said the WTA could not continue to hold its nine events in China, including the prestigious Tour Finals, will take place in Shenzhen until 2028, if he cannot guarantee the safety of tennis players in the country.
The men’s pro tour has also demanded assurances about Peng’s safety, but has not threatened to stop hosting tournaments in China, which is widely regarded as a major growth market for all sports but poses significant moral hazard to all. doing business with an increasingly authoritarian government.
“Money comes before everything,” said Martina Navratilova, the former champion and tennis commentator, who defected to the United States at age 18 to escape communist rule in Czechoslovakia.