Football fans attending Wimbledon will be allowed to use phones and tablets to follow the World Cup final, the All England Club has announced.
The men’s singles final, scheduled to begin at 2pm on Sunday, will not be moved to avoid a clash with the World Cup decider, which starts at 4pm.
Wimbledon traditionally bans phones, tablets and radios from its courts while play is going on, but in a nod to the ongoing football tournament, chief executive Richard Lewis said that rules would be relaxed so long as the devices do not cause disruption.
Hundreds of tennis fans left Wimbledon last Saturday to watch England take on Sweden in the quarter-finals, while others gathered around devices within the grounds.
Some even watched it on their phones on Centre Court.
“If people aren’t affecting other people’s enjoyment of the tennis, which they weren’t, because they’ve got it on silent or whatever, or they are listening with an earphone, or whatever, that’s fine,” he added.
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With the Three Lions in with a chance of making the Sunday’s final, tournament organisers have decided to make an exception, but Lewis denied it constituted a relaxation of club rules.
“If you are not disturbing anybody and people aren’t being disturbed, which they weren’t this last Saturday and I’m sure they won’t be on Wednesday and hopefully the same thing will apply on Sunday, then it’s a different issue.”
Defending champion Roger Federer, meanwhile, said that perhaps people at the final in Moscow would instead be watching the tennis.
“I’m more concerned the World Cup final will have issues because the Wimbledon final is going on,” he joked.
“The [football] players are going to look up in the crowd and not understand what’s going on at Wimbledon.”