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UAE bars entry for Israeli tennis player

Feb. 15, 2009 at 6:52 AM

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Women's tennis officials say they're "deeply disappointed" over the United Arab Emirates' decision to bar an Israeli player from the country.

UAE officials refused to grant a visa to Shahar Peer, who was seeking to compete in the Sony Ericsson World Tennis Association Tour's stop in Dubai, which began Sunday, CNN reported.

"We are deeply disappointed by the decision of the United Arab Emirates denying Shahar Peer a visa that would permit her to enter the country to play in the Dubai Tennis Championships," said Larry Scott, chairman and chief executive of the tour. "Ms. Peer has earned the right to play in the tournament and it is regrettable that the UAE is denying her this right."

Had she been allowed in, Peer would have been the first Israeli athlete to participate in a professional sporting event in the UAE, CNN reported.

The move means Dubai could lose its WTA membership next year, officials said.

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