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Arbitration Panel Backs DP World Tour Over LIV Golf Players

By: | Thu 06 Apr 2023

THE DP World Tour has been told that it was within its rights to fine and suspend the likes of Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood after they took part in LIV Golf’s inaugural tournament at the Centurion Club last year.

Sports Resolutions, an independent arbitration panel that considered the issue during a five-day hearing in London in February, has ruled in favour of the DP World Tour. The fines were suspended pending the outcome of this case and the tour must now decide whether to pursue the money.

Regardless of whether it decides to do so, Poulter, Westwood and 10 other golfers have probably played in their final DP Wolrd Tour events. It also means that their Ryder Cup careers are over - only members of the DP World Tour can qualify for the European team. And their world rankings will continue to fall - as things stand, no ranking points are awarded for performances in LIV Golf events.

The players were originally fined and suspended because they played at Centurion without permission from the tour.

The tour had argued players were in breach of membership regulations with the players insisting they were entitled to perform on a different platform.

Sport Resolutions has now found in favour of the tour, who must decide whether to pursue further financial payback for appearances in subsequent LIV events. The golfers can opt to appeal against the outcome after conversations with LIV’s legal representatives. 

Keith Pelley

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Keith Pelley, the DP World Tour’s Chief Executive, said: “We welcome today’s decision by Sport Resolutions which upholds our regulations and our ability to administer them.

“We are delighted that the panel recognised we have a responsibility to our full membership to do this and also determined that the process we followed was fair and proportionate.

“In deciding the level of these sanctions last June, we were simply administering the regulations which were created by our members and which each of them signed up to.

“It is, of course, regrettable that resources, both financial and staffing, which could have been otherwise deployed across our organisation, have been impacted by this lengthy arbitration process.

“However, with the clarity provided by today’s decision, we look forward to continuing to focus on our 2023 global schedule, whilst also continuing to plan for 2024 with the valued support of our many partners and stakeholders.

“We will now carefully consider the details of today’s decision with our Board, our Tournament Committee and our legal advisors and take the appropriate action in due course.”

Sergio Garcia has already resigned his membership and it it highly likely that the others will now follow suit in a bid to halt the disciplinary process entirely.

The PGA Tour is involved in a separate anti-trust lawsuit with LIV Golf and a handful of its players who were suspended for playing on the Saudi Arabia-funded circuit.

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Tags: LIV Golf european tour dp world tour

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