Exclusive: IOC to contact Tarpischev after Williams condemns his comments as "sexist" and "racist"
Monday, 20 October 2014 08:05
Shamil Tarpischev is to be asked by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for his position after Serena Williams today accused him of being "sexist" and "racist" following remarks he made about her and sister Venus.
Tarpischev, President of the Russian Tennis Federation, called the American siblings the "Williams brothers" on a Russian television chat show earlier this month.
It led to him being fined $25,000 (£15,500/€20,000) by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Tour and suspended for a year.
Tarpischev has been a member of the IOC since 1994 and is currently part of its Entourage Commission, which deals with matters concerning the relationship between athletes, coaches, managers, sponsors and all other stakeholders that support athletes.
In a statement yesterday, Tarpischev called the Williams sisters, who have 25 Grand Slam titles between them, "outstanding athletes" but claimed the comment was "taken out of context" and was made "without malicious intent".
The IOC will now seek further clarification of the situation before deciding whether to take any action themselves, which potentially could include referring Tarpischev to its Ethics Commission.
"We take note of Mr Tarpishev's apology and the sanctions imposed by the WTA," an IOC spokesman told insidethegames.
"The IOC will first contact Mr Tarpishev to ask for his position before considering any next step."
Serena Williams, the world number one, today commended the WTA on its swift action in dealing with Shamil Tarpischev.
"Well, I think the WTA did a really great job in taking initiative and immediately taking actions," Williams, winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles and four Olympic gold medals, said ahead of the WTA Finals in Singapore.
"His comments, I thought, were very insensitive,
"I thought they were extremely sexist as well as racist at the same time, and I thought they were in a way bullying.
"I just wasn't very happy with his comments and I think a lot of people are unhappy as well."