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NO MORE STANDING ON CEREMONY
Tim Crothers
June 25, 1990
Everyone at Wimbledon's Centre Court must now be seated
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June 25, 1990

No More Standing On Ceremony

Everyone at Wimbledon's Centre Court must now be seated

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Nonetheless, there is some debate as to whether or not all of the standing places had to be sacrificed.

"We told the club that they would need to conform to the regulations by reducing the number of people in the standing room," said Robin Pryke of the London Borough of Merton Council, which issues Wimbledon's safety certificate. "We did not ask them to remove the standing places. That was something that the club elected to do on its own."

The All England Club responded by saying that the regulations on capacity would have reduced the number of standees from 2,000 to a paltry 300.

Jackhammers have since rendered the discussion moot. For the 1990 championships there will be several hundred seats in place of the standees at Centre Court. "It's a sad day for Wimbledon and its fans," says Christopher Gorringe, chief executive of the All England Club. "The character of the tournament has been changed, and that is a tragedy."

O.K., so it's not Hamlet, but it is a double fault to British tradition. I remember a few years back when I procured a ticket to a seat at Centre Court. I sat for half an hour, staring at my compatriots in standing room. Something didn't feel right. It was the first time in three visits to Centre Court that I had been off my feet. I gave the ticket away, rejoined the queue, and soon I was back home.

Alas, from now on, Free Standing Area G will be just a mirage.

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