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HSE responds to LTA / AELTC decision to ban spectators from Murray Mount 'on health and safety grounds'

"Wimbledon 2011: Rain hits Andy Murray fans as giant TV screen is switched off due to rain" - The Mirror, 20 June 2011
"Elf 'n' safety shuts Murray Mount: Fans might slip on the grass, warn officials" - Daily Mail, 21 June 2011
"Murray understands fans' frustration" - ESPN, 21 June 2011
Response date:
21 June 2011

Roger Draper
Chief Executive
Lawn Tennis Association
National Tennis Centre
100 Priory Lane
SW15 5JQ

Ian Ritchie
Chief Executive
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Church Road
SW19 5AE

Dear Roger Draper / Ian Ritchie,

I was particularly disappointed to discover that the LTA / AELTC chose yesterday to explain its decision to ban spectators from Murray Mount as being 'on health and safety grounds'.

There is nothing in health and safety legislation which prohibits the continued broadcasting of centre court action to the crowds on the hill during the rain.

Health and safety is concerned with the proportionate management of real risks caused by work, not attempting to eliminate every minor risk from every moment of people's lives.

People have been walking up and down wet grassy slopes for years without catastrophic consequences. If the LTA was concerned about people slipping and suing for their injuries the message should have made clear the decision was 'on insurance grounds'.

Health and safety excuses are becoming as much a feature of the British sporting calendar as the rain. You will understand that while we can do nothing about the weather, we will not let the excuses pass unchallenged.

I am releasing a copy of this letter to the media.

Yours sincerely,

Judith Hackitt
Health and Safety Executive

Updated 2012-01-13