May 29, 2020

THE ONLY TENNIS WEBSITE

… you'll ever need

Half of ITF staff furloughed in pandemic cuts

As so many call for the various tennis organizations to help struggling players financially, one major issue has not been thoroughly considered.

The organizations themselves may not be able to afford it.

As a result of the postponement of events, the International Tennis Federation reports a significant loss of income.

On Thursday, the ITF – the organization that organizes tournaments for the majority of the struggling players at the lower levels and supports national federations around the world – announced furloughs.

“In order to safeguard jobs and protect the long-term health of our organization and our sport, the ITF is implementing a series of measures, effective from today, which include savings on projects, a job protection scheme for employees and the utilization of funds from ITF reserves.”

The ITF’s “job protection scheme” involves the furlough of about half the ITF staff. There was no specific number mentioned.

Those who remain on the job will get a 10 per cent salary cut. The “senior leadership team” has taken a 20 per cent cut. And ITF president David Haggerty has taken a 30 per cent decrease in salary, a cut the ITF takes pains to characterize as “voluntary”.

It feels as though those proportions aren’t optimal, especially as the ITF’s statement says it “in discussion with other tennis stakeholders to look into the various options to support nations and players during these times and will provide more information when we have completed that process.”

“As a non-profit organization, 90% of the ITF’s revenue is reinvested into programmes that drive growth and ensure the sustainability of our sport globally via our 210 member nations. This funding is invested where it is needed most at national level in the form of financial support, regulatory and professional services, event resources, education and training programmes for players, coaches and umpires.”

If the ITF already is dipping into its reserves without finalizing that kind of support, that doesn’t seem to bode particularly well that it will contribute if any substantial fashion to help the lower-ranked players through this crisis. 

But we’ll see.