The refusal to grant a visa to an Israeli tennis player has cost the Dubai Tennis Championships a record $300,000 fine.
Shahar Peer, an Israeli women's tennis player, had her visa request denied by the United Arab Emirates just before her planned arrival for the tournament in February.
Peer, ranked 48th, had been scheduled to play in the joint ATP and WTA event that includes all the top 10 women's players.
Tournament director Salah Tahlak says he and fellow organizers agreed on Sunday to pay the penalties imposed by the WTA Tour board, which rejected the Dubai tournament's appeal last week.
The fine was levied on Feb. 20 and was more than twice the highest fine previously imposed by the WTA.
At the time of the UAE's refusal to grant her a visa, the WTA Tour was planning to review its future in Dubai, and the UAE — which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel — could face a possible blow to its ambitions of becoming an international hub for big-ticket sports.
"Ms. Peer has earned the right to play in the tournament and it's regrettable that the UAE is denying her this right," WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott said in a statement issued after the UAE's last-minute refusal of entry.
The tour is also demanding Dubai organizers confirm that qualifying Israeli players will get visas at least eight weeks in advance for the 2010 event.
Tahlak told reporters that he hopes all players can compete, but says organizers do not have full control over government issues.
Peer broke barriers last year in Qatar when she was the first Israeli to play in a WTA Tour tournament in the Persian Gulf. In January, Peer was the focus of protests in New Zealand over Israel's three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip against Hamas militants. She was provided extra security at the ASB Classic tournament there.