Campaigners urge Wimbledon to drop Barclays sponsorship

Campaigners are urging Wimbledon to end its sponsorship with Barclays over the bank’s multibillion investment into fossil fuel projects.

Richard Curtis, Emma Thompson and Deborah Meaden are among the celebrities urging the sports event to drop its sponsorship.

The group claims the sponsorship deal – which is worth at least £20 million a year – is damaging to Wimbledon’s reputation.

In an open letter to Sally Bolton, the chief executive of the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), the campaigners said: “Put simply, Barclays is financing and profiting from climate chaos, and accepting a sponsorship deal from them is an endorsement of these actions.”

Curtis, who founded campaign group Make My Money Matter, said the decision of the AELTC to partner with Barclays was a “very bad line-call”.

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“Barclays is Europe’s largest fossil fuel funder, providing over £140 billion ($190 billion) to the industry since the Paris climate agreement in 2016,” he continued, adding that the bank is trailing behind industry peers such as HSBC and Lloyds by failing to rule out direct financing for new oil and gas.

“By agreeing a new sponsorship deal with Barclays, Wimbledon is damaging its reputation, failing to meet public expectations and endangering our wonderful green planet, that they’re meant to embody. It’s getting very late in the day to tackle the climate crisis – we’re at the semi-finals now – and so it’s time for Wimbledon to knock Barclays out of the competition by dropping them as a sponsor.”

An AELTC spokesperson said: “Barclays’ commitment to creating access to sport for all is something that we are passionate about and, thanks to their generous support of the Wimbledon Foundation, will be a central theme of our partnership.

“We believe that Wimbledon, along with other major sporting bodies and events, has a meaningful role to play in helping to protect the environment, today and for the future. Our ambition to have a positive impact on the environment is central to our day-to-day operations and is a core part of putting on a successful championships.”

A Barclays spokesperson said: “We have set 2030 targets to reduce the emissions that we finance in five high-emitting sectors in our financing portfolio, including the energy sector, where we have achieved a 32% reduction in our financed emissions since 2020.”

Fears of protestors disrupting Wimbledon

Tennis player Andy Murray has said there is a chance that the sporting event will be disrupted by Just Stop Oil protests, following a number of other demonstrations over the past few months.

“I think there is probably a good chance of something happening,” he said.

“I don’t know if they would attach themselves to the net or throw something on to the court – they have to be a bit careful going too near to tennis players who have obviously got rackets in their hands,” he continued.

“I mean, I agree with the cause – just not always how they go about expressing it. Rather than running on the court, maybe they could do it a different way.”

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