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Wednesday, 19 September, 2001, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
Sport counting the cost
World sport has been affected financially
By BBC Sport Online's Saj Chowdhury

It is a difficult time for world sport.

Last week's terrorist attacks on America shocked almost every community in the world, and led people to put their everyday lives into perspective.

Sport, in all its denominations, was no different as it examined itself and its significance.

It has been something of a taboo to discuss anything other than the human loss and suffering as a result of the tragedy - but sport has had to do just that.

As the days pass, organisers and competitors have been making some important decisions which have affected their events.

Baseball crowds were low for the matches
Baseball crowds were low for the matches
American pastimes such as baseball, American football and ice hockey suspended their fixtures immediately after the attacks.

Elsewhere in the world, football, golf and tennis also paid tribute.

While the world's political scene has been less than stable, sport has had to employ some diplomacy.

Perhaps the biggest event to be affected by the tragedy was the Ryder Cup.

Many of the American golfers voiced their fears of travelling to England to play. After much deliberation, golf's premier team event was postponed until next year.

There are many fans around the world who had bought tickets for the three-day event.

A spokeswoman for the European PGA told BBC Sport Online: "We are drawing up plans regarding financial matters. There is a lot for us to calculate, but a decision is expected to be made soon."

As a result of the fans' disappointment, hotels in the Birmingham area near the Belfry, have also experienced unexpected vacancies.

The Best Western Moor Hall Hotel had a number of their rooms booked three years in advance.

American flag
An American flag flies at The Belfry
But the hotel drew up a plan so as not to disappoint their customers and reduce the financial burden for themselves.

"The rooms that we had reserved have now been released. We will carry over the reservations to next year after the Ryder Cup is rescheduled or we will give the customers a full refund," said the booking supervisor for the hotel.

European football's governing body, Uefa, acted by postponing the majority of their Champions League and Uefa Cup matches last week as a mark of respect.

However, fans who had already travelled and were waiting to travel are now waiting to see whether their clubs or Uefa are set to compensate them.

A Uefa spokesman told BBC Sport Online that officials were planning to help the competing clubs financially, but that it was up to each individual team to aid their fans.

Manchester United, whose Champions League match against Olympiakos in Athens was cancelled last Wednesday, said they would pay around 1,000 travelling fans 150 each providing they had purchased a ticket.

Serena Williams
Williams is one of three Americans not at the Tokyo evet
Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale will follow suit, but teams with less financial clout may find it difficult to act in a similar manner.

The tragedy, though, has most affected American sport and the country's athletes.

Baseball resumed on Monday, but in stadiums which were half empty.

Elsewhere, the recent tennis tournament, the Princess Cup in Tokyo, was without the presence of Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles and Serena Williams.

The forthcoming World Matchplay Championship at Wentworth is in limbo, with just nine out of 12 of the places filled - none taken up by an American.

But with all that has happened, few would dispute sport's desire to take stock and willingness to make sacrifices.

Financial loss was inevitable, but in the context of events in America, it is a small price to pay.

Links to more Sport stories are at the foot of the page.


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