TENNIS fans who paid up to £100 for tickets to a tournament played on a covered court that was almost completely washed out by rain are considering legal action.
Spectators learned yesterday that they would get no money back on their tickets, nearly two months after the Edinburgh event, which featured stars including John McEnroe. Now some disgruntled fans are threatening to sue the event organisers.
The Brodies Champions of Tennis tournament was held in Stockbridge in Edinburgh under a temporary covered playing area – but winds blew rain on to the courts, stopping play for most of one day.
On Saturday, 22 June, only two hours of tennis were played because of the conditions, but organisers said no refunds would be paid if there was more than 40 minutes of play.
Tournament director Viki Mendelssohn said yesterday an unspecified “goodwill gesture” may be offered to those affected for next year’s event, but she was unable to provide details, or say when it would be available.
Colin McGregor, 48, from Falkirk, who paid £160 for tickets, said: “I respect that player safety is paramount, but I booked tickets on the understanding play was guaranteed. For the organisers not to even offer a partial refund, as happens in other sports, and then keep people waiting for almost two months is a disgrace.
“I am considering taking the matter to trading standards officers. Whatever happens, we won’t be back next year.”
Another fan, Adrian Dillon said: “I am looking into suing the tournament operators.”
Colin Skeldon, another ticket holder, said: “As a tennis fan who paid a lot of money to watch this tournament over two days, I am totally disgusted.
“The decision not to offer refunds has been made without any sense of moral obligation, and to use the ‘terms and conditions’ not to offer refunds is morally indefensible.
“Whoever decided that a canopy was appropriate for an outdoor event in Scotland in June was seriously misguided and the organisation who sanctioned this decision should be held accountable.”
Arleen Arnott said she had bought £80 tickets with a friend since it been advertised as “an undercover event”.
She said: “We later realised it was actually a canopy over the players only, but the organisers were very clear that the canopy would mean play would not be disrupted due to weather.”
In the statement sent to ticket holders, Ms Mendelssohn said: “We believed that the purpose-built canopy would allow play to continue in the event of rain. Unfortunately, due to the squally conditions, water did get on to the court and we were advised by the umpire to suspend play to ensure the players’ safety.
“Under the terms and conditions of our ticket refund policy, refunds would only be issued if less than 40 minutes of play took place. Despite the adverse weather conditions on Saturday, we made every effort to minimise disruption so that fans could see as much tennis as possible. As a result, we were able to put on just under two hours of play… refunds are not eligible.”
However, she declined to say whether the tournament was in dispute with the roof provider.
Wiltshire-based Airsculpt, which designed the structure, said in June it had warned organisers the roof would not withstand “sideways rain”.
Its spokesman said: “We said you can’t stop rain being driven in by high winds. For that you need a walled system.”